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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

What happened to Global Warming

We were talking about Global warming….

Christmas 2009 – United Kingdom

  • Scotland sees temperatures of –16C
  • Heavy snow warning Eastern Wales to see 10” OR MORE of snow
  • Incoming flights cancelled
  • Northern Ireland – water off due to freezing
  • Northeast of England – freezing, bitter cold rock-solid ICE

Warming, my BACKSIDE!!  Can we have some please!!!


Avatar – the Best Movie Ever?

Despite atrocious weather and the worst flu I can recall which has been pestering me for days and has now caught Maureen, we headed off to the new MetroCentre Imax cinema last night to see the long-awaited AVATAR movie.

So there are two aspects to this – the new Imax cinema and the movie itself. Despite a completely misleading picture in the local Journal newspaper recently, showing a normal cinema screen, the new digital Imax screen did not disappoint. For those living on an island for a generation, Imax cinemas traditionally feature MASSIVE screens using an ultra-wide film format to provide the best cinema that money can buy – this is NOTHING like your parent’s cinema – we’re talking huge screens with virtually perfect imagery. While the MetroCentre is not the largest Imax I’ve seen by ANY stretch of the imagination and it’s digital, not film, the results can still be described as totally realistic and “awesome”. So if you’re an old hand at Imax theatres you might want to try to get to London or similar monster varieties of Imax but if you’ve never been to an Imax before – the new MetroCentre complex will blow you away. Seats were comfortable, price was no more extortionate than usual and the only let-down was the exceeding TIGHTNESS of the person providing my Nachos with Jalapenos. None of the cinema staff at the MetroCentre seem to have been taught how to pronounce Jalapenos (“Jaleepeenoz” as they call them or “hah-lah-PEHN-yo” as the rest of us call them) and you’d think they were in short supply. As were were a tad late I let them get away with it – I’m normally prepared to start world war III over being cheated.

Then there is the movie. Again for those who don’t get out much, Avatar is James Cameron’s new outrageously expensive movie set on a distant planet in the very near future where we’re off pillaging as we’ve used up our own resources – and that’s the one thing about the movie that got me – I felt a TAD as if I was being lectured – the people who need lecturing are some of our third world friends who think that global warming is a Yankee plot – not us!

And that’s it, that is the ONLY complaint I can make about a movie that is totally mercerising, totally believable, has utterly believable aliens the likes of which you’ve never even remotely seen before, which features total 3D throughout and which had me choked up on several occasions as the story line was also (unlike many sci-fi movies) an absolute classic. Thanks to the 3D you’re in the jungle right next to these creatures so close you can see the hairs – and they STILL look “real”. Amazing and somehow exhilarating.

Put it this way, if Avatar does not win every award it is possible to win, I’ll consider there’s been a stitch-up. If you do nothing else this winter break, get down to the cinema, preferably a 3D Imax cinema and watch this feast of imagery. Make sure they don’t cheat you on the food though!

When Star-Trek first came out (not that I’m making any other comparison) nearly every aspect of it was science fiction – flip-phones did not exist, plug-in memory modules did not exist, touch tablets did not exist – all of which featured on the original shows as pure fiction… and so on. Ignoring the more exotic items like warp drive and the transporter, the majority of innovations that viewers saw on the original Star-trek either now exist or have been considerably bettered…. and so it will be with Avatar. As you watch the movie, only the brain-dead will fail to be moved by the totally believable 3D displays, manned robots, the Avatar system and more – and I confidently predict that by the time my grandkids grow up, virtually everything we saw in Avatar will be either common-place or old-hat. Maybe we’ll find a habitable planet, maybe not, but the rest – definitely.  You just HAVE to see this.

ACT on CO2 – or NOT?

“Hey diddle diddle, the car and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon on discovering just how easy it was to reduce our CO2 emissions”

That’s how the latest “Act on CO2” advert features in last weekend’s telegraph. It then goes onto say that “40% [of Co2] is caused simply by the way we heat and light our homes and drive our cars”.

I’m assuming tax-payers paid for the pile of nonsense. Firstly, this kind of woolly, misleading marketing is on a par with “up to 8 meg broadband”.  At a casual glance, we’re responsible for 40% of emissions and really CAN do something about it.

Or not. Firstly CO2 is only part of the emissions issue and in fact the COW in the advert is probably at least as responsible for greenhouse emissions as we are….   no mention then of reducing meat consumption (and I’m not a veggie). I had planned to point you to a very informative TED conference on the subject of how much damage METHANE causes (a kilogram of methane is something like 23Kg of carbon monoxide) but it seems to have mysteriously disappeared off the web. If you want the full, excruciating facts check on Jamais Cascio’s blog here.

The fact is that in this freezing cold, wet country there is not a lot we can do with our heating other than to make sure we’re fully insulated. In a recession these people are DREAMING if they think we’re all going to pop out any buy newer, more efficient systems – I just had to replace our oil heater (not voluntarily) and its going to cost over 2K all in – who’s going to do that right now? As for the car… the stupid idiots could not have timed it worse – like we’re all going to leave our cars at home and take the pushbike in the freezing snow?? Spring might have been better timing!

And when we’ve done all of that, what influence do we have as a diminishing economy over China and India  who’s burgeoning economies and conversion to western diet (see the blog above – cheeseburgers) will ensure any efforts we make have virtually no effect whatsoever on the environment – we’re a tiny little island for heaven’s sake – what, they’re all going to follow our lead? I don’t think so.

There is of course a solution that solves all of the problems – it requires less cows, smaller factories, less movement of goods, less travel – indeed it covers all angles of the entire pollution problem.


A dramatic drop of children now would be disastrous for any economy and our short-sighted politicians should have been working on this in the 70’s when it was plain for all but politicians to see that automation was going to reduce the need for manual labour – but no-one had the stomach for it – and now we’re paying the price. With the massive societies we have now, any breakdown in our systems (collapse of the automobile industry due to running out of fuel, massive power cuts etc) would result in us spending our lives in total civil disorder, wallowing in our own waste products. Our lack of foresight and lack of ability to take stern action will be our undoing – and what is the solution…   take the pushbike out once a week.

Give me a break.


Don’t you get sick of commercial BULL?   We were told that WOLFRAM ALPHA was going to be the be-all-and-end-all.   I just tried a couple of simple queries…  “who is Peter Scargill”  – and “what happened in 1954” – both produced nothing but garbage – but in each case Google was spot on as usual. Everything I’ve ever tried on WA has failed miserably.

Anyway, I digress….   I’m sitting here in front of a calendar entitled “101 THINGS EVERY WOMAN SHOULD DO BEFORE SHE DIES” …  something Maureen must’ve picked up.. anyway, the BIG sign on the back tells you all about their GREEN credentials. It’s a company called Time Factory Publishing based in Indianapolis.

All of their calendars use forestry stewardship council certified paper….     they are powered by their own windmill, they recycle and suggest ways to re-use the calendar (I can think of a few).

All of which is GREAT until you look at the corner “printed in South Korea”…. and they’re selling them in the America!!

So assuming the best and they used electronic means to get the info to South Korea, the calendars are then travelling half way around the world to get to Britain. What’s wrong with “printed in the US” ??? Don’t we have any printers? GREEN CREDENTIALS? BULL more like it.

Of course in this case the goods were sold in America then shipped over here in the UK by a friend – but that’s another matter.

Energy Issues – How Many Light Bulbs

Very rarely does anyone put our energy problems into perspective – and still manage to speak in a language the layman can understand. This fellow has succeeded. Sadly most of the comments in the original YouTube video are mindless. This is worth watching.


He’s right, switching off phone chargers is silly – the mere effort of making the change could be used to make more relevant change, like taking showers instead of baths or turning the heating down just a touch -  or in the winter making sure windows and doors are properly sealed…

I still see people in shops looking at disgust at low-energy light bulbs, I see countless lampshade designs which are unable to take any but the very smallest of these.. I see the likes of B&Q still way overcharging for compact fluorescents that the supermarkets now sell for pennies.

I think personally that the 100w incandescent lamp ban was too little – we should have scrapped the 60w lamps as well – there really is no reason not to convert unless you use dimmers.

Ive no facts in this but I can’t help thinking that if we stopped importing cheap crap from China – and found tax incentives to encourage people to buy locally produced electronic goods and cars that are designed with repair-ability in mind, we’d be doing a lot for the environment. Many of today’s goods are simply impossible to maintain or repair – deliberately… and that’s silly.