The case for optimism on climate change - "I'll finish with this story. When I was 13 years old, I heard that proposal by President Kennedy to land a person on the Moon and bring him back safely in 10 years. And I heard adults of that day and time say, 'That's reckless, expensive, may well fail.' But eight years and two months later, in the moment that Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, there was great cheer that went up in NASA's mission control in Houston. Here's a little-known fact about that: the average age of the systems engineers, the controllers in the room that day, was 26, which means, among other things, their age, when they heard that challenge, was 18." (via; previously) [more inside]
The green Orion slave girl. Star Trek's almost-forgotten 1965 original pilot contained a sequence that would later become iconic: the dancing, seductive green Orion slave girl. Getting her to stay green, though, was a different matter entirely. [more inside]
In fashion news, apparently, Merman colour is the next big thing in men’s hair. This styling and particular coloring replaces "man buns" as the in-thing for the man-about-town. Radiant blues and purples predominate, with the occasional green, and the occasional very green. The effect also used on beards and mustaches for that rainbow-hipster identity. Headwear co-ordination is a possibility, and age is not a barrier; neither is being a merman when in a serious boardroom meeting. Yellow is also a choice, and many bright colors at once are possible. For MeFites wanting to make a statement, some do's and dont's. And finally, a personal favorite: you can be very old and still cool.
Tesla Powerwall Battery Economics: Almost There - "Elon Musk announced Tesla's home / business battery today. [video] tl;dr: It'll get enthusiastic early adopters to buy. The economics are almost there to make it cost effective for a wide market... That said, for large scale grid deployment (outside of the home), it still looks like flow batteries and advanced compressed air are likely to be far cheaper in the long run." [more inside]
In just 12 days, the 2015 general election for the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) takes place. On the surface, the math is simple: there are 650 seats, so winning 326 gives you a simple majority. In the previous parliament, governance was through a coalition of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. But this time, predicting who will be Prime Minister, or have the most seats, or what form the government will take, is ... complicated. [more inside]
A visit to Baotou Lake where rare earth minerals, used in "green" products and electronics, are processed. [more inside]
"There are several ideas of what happened here this evening. It could have been a fantastic promotion stunt, or a demonstration against the film establishment, but a lot of people think it was actually a motion picture being produced here at the film festival. The only thing sure is that the 13th annual San Francisco Film Festival got off to a smashing start." That's a bit of reporter humor, which accurately captures the diverse goals and ideas behind Pie Fight '69, a most memorable yet virtually forgotten piece of San Francisco's cinema history. The film from a half dozen cameras, run by members of Grand Central Station independent film collective, was lost until 1999. The rediscovered film was cut into a short documentary, which you can see on Archive.org, YouTube, and Vimeo.
Let Us Face the Future - "All parties pay lip service to the idea of jobs for all. All parties are ready to promise to achieve that end by keeping up the national purchasing power and controlling changes in the national expenditure through Government action. Where agreement ceases is in the degree of control of private industry that is necessary to achieve the desired end. In hard fact, the success of a full employment programme will certainly turn upon the firmness and success with which the Government fits into that programme the investment and development policies of private as well as public industry." [more inside]
From the rather common "skate punk into alternative music" origins to a bedroom producer who signed with Ninja Tune, Bonobo, the stage name for Simon Green, has continued to change musically. From the lone musician who made sample-based music, he has expanded into working with field recordings, studio musicians, and live shows where the band took a four bar drum break transformed it into a seven minute epic drum-sax solo battle, to which the crowd tried to clap along. You can see him live tomorrow at the Alexandra Palace in London in a special Boiler Room session, but until then, there's plenty more to see, hear and read. [more inside]
The “arsenic” ball gown sits on a headless dressmaker’s form in the basement archives of Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum as senior curator Elizabeth Semmelhack, wearing cotton conservators’ gloves, expounds upon its vintage (late 1860s), its provenance (Australia), its exquisite construction—and, most relevantly, its ability to kill.[more inside]
(until wednesday). Yes, it's election day in the USA on Tuesday 4th November, with a projected cost of $3.67 billion. "During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested; along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races." The betting markets currently have the Republicans significant favorites to take the Senate and overwhelming favorites to take the House. FiveThirtyEight indicates the same, but with many close Gubernatorial races. Electoral-vote.com currently project the senate at Dem 48, Ties 1, GOP 51. [more inside]
Lauren Davis rounds up webcomics to give you thrills and chills on io9, calling out 18 specifically, then listing additional titles in some of the descriptions. [more inside]
Some of the world’s most powerful conservationists are giving up on wilderness. They are making a big mistake [more inside]
A heavily-illiustrated article on Jeff Wilson ("Professor Dumpster") and the evolution of his thirty-six square feet of open-air accommodation: Living Simply in a Dumpster
The New York Times calls David Mitchell's new novel, "The Bone Clocks," his most ambitious novel. This is significant because his other novels are fairly ambitious. [more inside]
UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
Jeremy Rifkin posted an article today on HuffPo titled The Internet of Things: Monopoly Capitalism vs. Collaborative Commons discussing his new book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society:The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism. Wikipedia's page on IoT is here. There was some debate on a recent NPR Science Friday about whether it should be called the Internet of Bits. See also, The Zero Marginal Society website.
"After two to three hours, the body is transformed into a sterile coffee-colored liquid the consistency of motor oil that can be safely poured down the drain, alongside a dry bone residue similar in appearance to cremated remains." GOOD magazine: The emergence of the sustainable death industry.
Installed solar capacity is growing by leaps and bounds, led by Walmart and Apple, and helped by bonds backed by solar power payments,[*] which have sent industry stocks soaring, even as molten salt and new battery technologies come on line to generate storage for use when the sun doesn't shine. Of course we could always go to geostationary orbit -- or the moon -- as well we may (if politics allow it) as thirst from the developing world grows beyond the earth's carrying capacity. [more inside]
Kevin Rudd has visited Yarralumla and has asked the Governor General to issue the writs for an election to be held on September the 7th. The ABC's coverage starts the coverage with Vote Compass - Where do you stand (as if you already didn't know)? Faifax has offered this handy ready reckoner. News Corp Australia? Well they are calling on the services of Col Pot to ensure that Voting compasses and ready reckoners point in only the right direction, and to ensure that News' editors - rely on their instincts
"[Peer Steinbrück, the chancellor-candidate] is a good man, with quite a bold programme for ‘social justice’. Tax increases for the better-off, a proper minimum wage, dual citizenship for immigrants, less elbowing individualism and more solidarity in a society where das Wir entscheidet – ‘it’s the we that counts.’ The German public, surprisingly, mostly agree that increasing taxes is a sound idea. What they resent is that the idea comes from the SPD. In the same way, the Augsburg programme is widely thought to make sense, but the voters don’t fancy Peer Steinbrück. They are pissed off with Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, but reluctant to let go of Mutti’s hand. In short, the public are in one of those sullen, unreasonable moods which make politicians despair." The LRB reports from Germany. [via]
Getting your groceries delivered might be greener than driving to the store. In a University of Washington study, delivery vs. driving reduced CO2 emissions by half. Where's Webvan when you need it?
It has been known for some time that colors can be described by three numbers. If I show you light of a certain color and ask you to match it by combining lights of three other colors and varying their intensities, you'll typically be able to find a combination that looks indistinguishable. But the wavelengths you combine might be very different from the wavelengths I showed you. Light of the wavelength corresponding to yellow and light of the right combination of red and green wavelengths will look the same, even though they are physically quite different.[more inside]
“Uncle Vincenzo,” implored the businessman, Angelo Salvatore, using a term of affection for the alleged head of Sicily’s Gimbellina crime family, 79-year-old Vincenzo Funari. According to a transcript of their wiretapped conversation, Salvatore continued: “For the love of our sons, renewable energy is important. . . . It’s a business we can live on.” [more inside]
As if a line like "their house is a museum, when people come to see 'em, they really are a scree-am" (heard, of course, in the Addams Family theme) wasn't playfully brilliant (and brilliantly playful) enough, the same fellow happened to also have written the Green Acres theme. If you're an American of a certain age, you'll remember these two songs from their original TV runs during your childhood, or perhaps from reruns if you're a bit younger. Anyway, the composer of these catchy, familiar ditties was one Vic Mizzy. Hear Vic talk about the Addams Family theme and his degree in advanced finger snapping here. Thanks Vic!
An unknown publisher has used Amazon's CreateSpace to make a new, three-in-one volume of L.M. Montgomery’s classic "Anne of Green Gables" series with a bold re-imagining of Anne's look on the cover. Reactions are more or less as expected.
After years of dedicated rehabilitation, the people of Mexico City have transformed from one of the worst environments in the world to one of the "greenest" cities in North America, but there are still challenges to be faced.
THE PROBLEM OF THE AMBER SIGNAL LIGHT IN TRAFFIC FLOW (PDF), published in 1959, is the origin of the yellow interval duration equation for traffic lights. But in China, as of Tuesday, yellow lights are now considered functionally the same as red lights, prompting outcries in the local media that it is not only unfair, but actually violates Newton's First Law of Motion. It also violates the history of traffic lights... [more inside]
I love a sun-powered country, A land of deepening mines, of ragged nuclear plants, of biomass and hydropower
While developed countries are pondering whether they should sign up to The Kyoto 2 Protocol and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5% by 2020, based on 2000 levels which may be of questionable impact, the tiny Pacific territory of Tokelau has ditched its primary source of electricity generation, costly diesel imports, in favour of 100% renewable solar power, becoming the first nation in the world to do so, at a time when the global energy systems of the 21C are struggling towards decarbonisation. [more inside]
Cargo bikes, long a mainstay in the Netherlands and emerging as an automotive alternative in the U.S. (via bike-friendly Portland), come in many flavors: Longtails, longjohns, cycle trucks, porteurs, trikes and the traditional Dutch bakfiet. Will a cargo bike transform your life?
The governments of the United Kingdom and Scotland agree on a framework for the latter to vote on independence. Other reporting in the Telegraph, Guardian and the Scottish Sun. The referendum, for this nation of 5.25 million people and a unicorn as its national animal, will be held before the end of 2014. [more inside]
"From Washington, D.C.: The Nation of Ulysses"
"Brothers and Sisters, what are your real desires?" 9:30 Club 1991, Part 2
"That's how you do this song, loose baby. Okay, 1 2 3 4" Live at Peace Center 1992, Part 2
Live at Jabberjaw
"Brothers and Sisters, what are your real desires?" 9:30 Club 1991, Part 2
"That's how you do this song, loose baby. Okay, 1 2 3 4" Live at Peace Center 1992, Part 2
Live at Jabberjaw
What to do when your bees develop a taste for the residue of the confectionary process, with some rather visible side effects. [more inside]
Apple is abandoning EPEAT
Apple’s mobile design direction is in conflict with the intended direction of the standard. Specifically, the standard lays out particular requirements for product “disassemble-ability,” a very important consideration for recycling: “External enclosures, chassis, and electronic subassemblies shall be removable with commonly available tools or by hand.” Electronics recyclers need to take out hazardous components such as batteries before sending computers through their shredders, because batteries can catch fire when punctured.[more inside]
Jon Ronson (whose book The Psychopath Test was the basis of a This American Life episode ) interviews folks living in America at several varied levels of income in: GQ - Amber Waves of Green.
“So if we continue voting like this in the (House of Commons), there’ll be no b-day for me this year?” tweeted NDP MP Hoang Mai.
It is still June 13 for the Parliament of Canada, where voting has continued overnight on the "omnibus budget bill" (previously), due to 159 separate amendment votes that have been forced by the opposition. None are likely to pass, but the arduous process is meant to function as a protest against legislation which many critics have argued goes far beyond the scope of a traditional budget. [more inside]
Last week, I wrote about how urban trees—or the lack thereof—can reveal income inequality. After writing that article, I was curious, could I actually see income inequality from space? It turned out to be easier than I expected.
Big oil companies make more than $300 million every day. "Why should Americans prop up these companies with tax dollars and have to pay ridiculous fuel prices?" Self-described 'Democratic socialist' Bernie Sanders (Vermont) introduces a bill to cut $113B of fossil fuel subsidies. [more inside]
It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes.
Poo-Powered Rickshaw Unveiled At The Denver Zoo Poop. Is there anything it can't do? On Wednesday, The Denver Zoo introduced what is believed to be the world's first poo-powered motorized tuk tuk showcasing The Denver Zoo's very own patent-pending gasification technology.
The most common references you will see about the Green Swizzle, are the recipe that incorporates creme de menthe, or the quote from "The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy". It has been said, many times, that the creme de menthe version is not the original recipe and that the original "has been lost in history" or that "it never existed". These two statements I do not agree with, and I've managed to dig up a number of articles that prove the Green Swizzle did exist, and that the original recipe may be right in front of our eyes.
Arduino + servos + laser + phosphorescent surface + Twitter = Fade Away 1. A thoughtful art project about the "permanence" of the Internet.
Solyndra used to make thin-film solar cells, but they could not make any money. The Department of Energy tried to help with a $535 million “Green” loan guarantee but the DOE missed the memo that says EBITDA needs to be in the black if they expect to keep taxpayers out of the red. Private investors kicked in another $70 million eventually but only after the DOE primed itself. As White House economic advisor Larry Summers noted, “…[government] is a crappy vc [venture capitalist]…" Thanks to the DOE though, 40 employees and 150 contractors got to keep their jobs for an extra week last year according to the WaPo.
The Great Debate: What's the most environmentally-friendly way to dry your hands in a public bathroom? Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have completed what is believed to be the first major study to assess the greenest way of drying your hands.
Nest is a "brave new thermostat" from one of the creators of the iPod. It learns from your temperature adjustments.
In 1985, just a few months before its lamentedly-unsuccessful-yet-enduringly-wonderful big screen cousin was released, the Clue VCR Mystery Game was released on an unsuspecting (and largely unwilling [some might say clueless]) public. The hugely-quotable and charmingly goofy VHS film included as part of the game is viewable in its entirety online in seven parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. (If you must see the butler, Didit, explaining the rules, please use these links in place of 1 and 2 above.) [Total video time: under one hour] Before you view [more inside] play a round of personal facts, followed by a round of cards. [more inside]
Combine your passion in the bedroom with your love for the environment. Finally there’s an environmentally friendly way to dispose of used or broken vibrators, dildos, butt plugs, and other sex toys. (NSFW)
DO Lectures: a smaller, gentler TED, with annual conferences in Wales and the US. Every twenty-minute conference presentation is available as free online video. A sampling: Tim Berners-Lee on how the web just happened. Peter Segger on soil. David Allen on optimizing your brain. A complete list of presenters. The Do Village blog.