Monday, July 01, 2013

Viral Apocalypse

Hello again....

Chemicals are a by-product of atomic alchemy. I find it frightening how pharmaceutical companies are churning out chemical concoctions for so many medical ailments. I wonder if they have in research and development a pill to cure the zombie apocalypse. Or how I like to call it, the Viral Apocalypse.

Most of us know how a virus works. First of all, practically every virus discovered is not healthy for our species. Viruses usually consume their host as much as they can, some even cause our defenses to attack the host. Viruses are scary stuff, very horror movie scary. Picture these beings floating or running or even flying through the air eating everything in its path. I bet you could name five films that describe this carnivorus cinematic escapades. Perhaps our cultural scribes are warning us of the future or at least a high probable chance of the future.

When you play with fire, the chance that you will probably burn yourself is all dependant on your experince with matches or other flammable objects. Even then, I would peg the number that a typical boy scout has a 2 percent chance of burning themselves at their fire. Two out of a hundred times or one out of fifty times. Its a right of passage to get burn blisters at a campfire. Obviously it can happen again, but you are more experienced with the consequences. I believe pharmaceutical industries are playing with fire and have not witnessed a contagion critical crisis... a Viral Apocalypse... to understand the consequences.

Hell yeah I am paranoid. Our chemical history has been way to short and way to aggressive. In the past, your neighbourhood alchemist was usually the crazy person at the edge of town, always burning off their eyebrows. So when they looked at you it was creepy and you usually ran away scared. Breaking down chemical chains was truly an art form and it devoted a lot a attention to reactions with pure forms of elements. Although, finding pure forms was the pot of gold. They were difficult to find and if there was an abundance, it usually was hoarded. Having a pure form of elements allows for greater control in manipulating its powers. So when petroleum came along, complex chemical chains suddenly provide a simple Lego system, to create interesting products. Solid, liquid, and gaseous products could be easily crafted by adding heat to petroleum and extracting the exact state you need to make... a plastic spoon.

Oil wealth created a new industry with chemicals. We could make almost anything we wanted with a barrel of petroleum. It could even take us to the moon. Damn... why not. Volcan, god of alchemy, hear our prayers, give us the knowledge to cure the sick, to alter our reality, to clear our nose from dryness during the winter months, to coat our floors with scented sterile soaps, and to change this natural world. The alchemists suddenly all became very rich. This richness gave them influence and power and perhaps an sense of godness. Other industries took notice and realised that they too can benefit with the powers in the black chemical soup. It allowed many industries to refine their crafts and when you were finished you could easily dump it. Soon enough the land, the water, and the air started to change in areas of higher concentrations of these chemicals and our species wondered if this would change our biology.

Democratic controls were established and laws were enacted to limit these altering states to the land, sea, and air. However, much, in my opinion, has yet to be cleaned up, the one particular pesky poison is the chemical by-product of pharmaceutical consumption. Yes, I am talking about our toxic urine, our foul feces. Our species worship these pharma-alchemist every day, some once a day, others three times a day (At the end of every prayer you always say "gulp"). So what happens to these drugs once they leave our system and enter our ecosystem? With higher concentrations of drugs in cities, water ways are chocked full of these chemical chains. What are the consequences? Is it a horror movie story? Could a virus begin to take form and soon grow into monsters we cannot control, spreading until all of us are consumed. The Earth would probably just burp us out after and send us to another planet to do it all over again.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Electric Wheels... Let's chat about this

I was recently asked this question by a friend:

What is the issue with electric cars in USA? Is there a conspiracy to limit their production to sustain a fossil fuel based economy?

Not to long ago a documentery film was produced to ask the same questions. The title of the film, Who Killed the Electric Car?, dove deep into the issue of General Motors’ adventure with the EV1. The EV1 was a brain child of some very smart engineers in GM, who were planning for California’s strict vehicle legislations. These legislations would encourage the use and production of electic vehicles for consumers as a way to reduce the hazardous air pollution build up in the state. GM started early and developed the EV1 and leased out about 200 or so cars.

Over time, the State of California changed its mind about the strict vehicle guidelines and the whole incentive to use an electric car disappeared. GM pulled out of the business and destroyed most of the EV1s, despite the high demand for the vehicles.

The film goes on to describe the players involved in the demise of the EV1, which includes big oil companies. As a fact, the USA uses about 51% of all crude oil production and imports to produce gasoline. This is huge business especially with the millions of vehicles on the roads guzzeling gasoline. Simple business logic dictates a loss of market share for big oil in fueling vehicles, if vehicles turn electric. I cannot specifically say they sabotaged the EV1, but I am sure they were not happy with the idea.

A country as big as the USA takes time for major changes to occur. If the government were to start electric vehicle programs, there would be a lot of resistance. The car is a fundamental industry in the USA, which made the country a super-industrial power. Historically, many industries were linked to vehicle manufacturing and it made many people wealthy, usually the people who today have huge influence on politicians and business trends.

All of this historical baggage does not necessary mean the electric car is dead. What it means is that traditional industrial businesses will not fund such a project, therefore needing other sources of income. Currently, this is what is happening in the electric vehicle market. There is an emergence of new vehicle companies, funded by internet billionaires, building prototypes. Very soon commercial electric vehicles will share the road with conventional fossil fuel vehicles and make more economical sense when air pollution savings are added to the price tag. But it does not end there. Where does the electricity come from?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Putting an ECO on your Kid

Can it be possible to reduce the impact my child will have on the earth? This question deeply affected me when I became a new father. It demanded my attention. My values were strained at the idea of adding a new person on the earth to indulge in the already dwindling resources.

The past 50 years has seen an explosion in population increase like never before in our civilisation; mostly due to advances in modern medicine and health care, but also the extent of resource distribution. One hundred years ago, getting an orange from Florida or bananas from Costa Rica was very difficult. Our nutritional needs benefit from world-wide shipping of produce.

Having said that, one can say that a formidable ecological cause is to reduce the population of our species. Having less humans consuming could bring back a balance to the natural resources. This is all good, but the instinct to procreate runs deep within our genes. Complicating the situation.

Such a complex problem requires a lot of effort. I believe it is worth your effort to stick to your values and try as much as possible to find solutions. Remember that what you are aiming for is a better future. Isn’t this what child rearing is all about? So why stop at just their individual development and welfare, and work at leaving them an earth where clean air, clean water and bio-diversity are celebrated.

To begin this open discussion of possible solutions, we all have to work together. Traditional wisdom tells us how a village is needed to raise a child, therefore let us take this as our starting point. You are now part of my village and I part of yours.

Our village is working at raising a new generation who will eventually take over the village and continue on its traditions and values. Of course, our village needs to be a safe place and a place where play is learning. What aspects of being safe can be sustainable? What aspects of play can be sustainable?

With the overflow of goods and services surrounding us, it is imperative that each item be scanned for harmful components. Our village cannot handle too many chemicals and the less the better. Products are well-labeled in these times, examining them does not take any time. As well, find out how and where these goods came from, not only for your own education, but for the sake of other villages who battle similar poisons affecting their children.

Play encompasses many activities, but a significant impact are the toys that accumulate the toy box, which either have short product lives, or have very little value to learning and to the imagination. A simple investigation can supply answers of the impact and value of the toy in question. Every little thing counts. Your effort will not go unnoticed, the village demands it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Opening A New Window

Hi Folks... It has been a long time since I posted a note. School has taken a really big toll on me. I was up at all hours of the night writing a major project report. Well all of that is now finished.

Now I am up at all hours of the night with a beautiful little son. He is all that I dreamed!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Moving the Hands of Time

A key point about energy efficiency is how it can be manifested in many ways. A recent example is the early three week change of Daylight Savings time. When the hour is jumped ahead in the spring, our consumption of energy changes. It might sound strange, but the truth lies in your lifestyle.

During the winter months in Canada the sun will set at approximately 5 pm. This is typically when you would leave work, arrive at home after your commute and meet up with the rest of your family. Since the sun has set, the streets are lit up by the yellow glow of the city streetlights. At home, you turn on your front door light, and perhaps the hallway lights too. Someone in the kitchen has those lights on and whoever is in other rooms in the house have lit those spaces. The electricity is flowing strong into your house and as well as all the other houses around you.

This is peak power. Everyone activating the electricity service at the same time puts lots of pressure on the producers of electricity. It is expensive to produce electricity at this time too, because it is usually expensive fuel or an expensive system that needs to run, when all other cheaper sources are busy. In some places the cost during peak power can be as high as 20 cents for every kWh of electricity, while normal hour electricity is around 5-7 cents per kWh.

Now if we change the clock time, like all of you did a few weeks ago and I did it last night, by one hour, a shift in activities occurs. Now in a typical March day the sun will set at 6 pm, instead of the usual 5 pm. What happens at 6 pm in your household? You are probably finishing your meals or cleaning up, settling for an evening with a good book or a fun reality tv show. The usual hustle and bustle that happens at the 5 pm hour is all performed in daylight, which eliminates all those lights.

Peak power is reduced! The cost drops slightly, but still, a smaller peak consumption rate exists. When we add 4 weeks more to our summer hours (3 weeks earlier in spring, one week later in the fall), there is significant change in the size of peak electricity during the whole year.

Another simple example of energy efficiency at work. Imagine if we change all our lights to be low energy consumption bulbs....

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Old Assignment

Moving from Point A to Point Z using Green Land Transportation

Agricultural Wastes. Waste feedstocks coupled with special enzymes can produce an alcohol fit enough to burn in any vehicle.
Bio-Fuels. Any oily plant can be processed to burn in an engine.
Carbon Fibre Structures. Using this material can reducing the weight of vehicles to gain valuable fuel efficiency, while not sacrificing safety.
Diesel Engines Powered on Bio-Oils. The diesel engine is an efficient machine and cleaning up it’s fuel is one way to find cheap solutions with existing technology.
Electric Vehicles. This is a no-brainer as battery technology is becoming more and more efficient.
Friendly Car Sharing. Instead of buying a car, share a vehicle with your neighbourhood.
Generating Capability. Parked vehicles have the capacity to power buildings.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Fleets. Having a central area to refill on hydrogen is key to operating your fleet on fuel cells and reducing infrastructure costs.
Internet Groups. Car-pooling can be easy when you know someone is going your way.
Jesus Sandals. To encourage walking, make sidewalks comfortable to walk on.
Kilometre Per Hour Reduction. Reduce speed limits to gain fuel efficiency.
Lorry Carriers. Train systems designed to carry freight trucks.
Magnetic Train Lines. Maglev trains are a new technology enabling fast transportation between large distances.
Nuke Powered Trains. Virtually unlimited power in small scale.
Operator-Less Vehicles. With current GPS and AI technology, operating a vehicle can become more efficient.
Phone Batteries. Lithium-Ion batteries from cell phones can be placed together to pawer vehicles, Tesla Motors proved it.
Quiet Transport. Noise is the sound of inefficiency.
Rails On Highways. Plug yourself onto an electric rail system to take you to destination.
Super Ports. Airports can be converted into high speed train stations providing fast regional transportation, eliminating short-haul flights.
Tank Treads. Alternative to wheels.
Urban Bike Systems. Many cities are taking the effort to plan proper bike routes which are easy accessible and safe.
Vegetable Oil. Waste vegetable oil from restaurants can be used as bio-oil in diesel engines.
Water Powered Vehicles. Compress water to make parts move.
Xenograft Vehicles. Using nature designs in vehicles, bio-mimicry
Young Generation. Designs need to appeal to the young generation who are looking for innovation.
Zone for Greens. Green vehicles should have their own lanes, or even roads.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Extra Posting: Next Steps

A buzz word... a useful phrase... a total brand. Could it have attained such a high status? Climate change has emerged, it sits on most tongues, it dwells on minds and dominates headlines. Since this issue has reached super status, I feel it is now time to move on.

The debate is over. There is no need to fight whether this scientist or the other proved this or that. Why? Well every time the rains pour down and flood a small town, could this be climate change working? Every time a tornado splits a neighbourhood apart, oh, could this be climate change acting? Every time a record is broken in weather measurements, oh, could THIS be caused by climate change? The public has grasped the essence of the situation, we really don’t know if all these changes in the weather are true causes from millions of billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. All we know, and we all feel it too, is that something is different. We must take heed and prepare.

Climate change evangelists have done their work. Their tremendous speeches, dazzling graphics and conviction has won the public. They deserve much respect for the intense work and much comfort for all the criticism they endured. The ground has been cleared. It is time now to march, to pick up the hammer and begin constructing. Each step of the way, brilliant concepts, explosive ingenuity, and unfettered creativity must be mixed in our path forward.

The rules are simple, like always, those who are strong survive. It is now the renaissance of adaptation, and unlike in other times, this needs to be faster. We will not have the time to react, things will change quickly leaving many behind. Our values, ethics, and what we hold dear need to be re-evaluated. In the Capsule Age, we have to be resourceful, quick in thought and co-operatation.