About Anything

The personal blog of Al Stevens. Focus is overrated.

Archive for the ‘Eco Things’ Category

Monday’s reads

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How to become a digital nomad. The solution is to digitize everything.  [Mike Elgan in Computerworld]

Human population density does affect animal populations, in this case, fish. [Christopher Stallings in PLoS One]

A little comic relief. The Creation Wiki entry for the Flying Spaghetti Monster may not be the funniest page on the Internet, but it’s pretty funny. And I wasn’t even aware that there was a Creation Wiki. [Sean in Discover Magazine]

More comments on Elsevier’s six fake journals. [Barbara Fister on ACRLog]

A simple conclusion: Culling impedes the evolution of avian host resistance against influenza. [Eunha Shim in PLoS One]

Written by Al Stevens

May 11th, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Thursday’s Reads

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David Biello summarizes two recent papers that conclude that within 40 years, we’ll add as much CO2 to the atmosphere as we’ve added since 1750 — a scenario that is likely to result in catastrophic climate change.

Tim O’Reilly’s and Sarah Milstein’s “The Twiiter Book” published in PowerPoint and previewed on slideshare.

The virology blog describes the three ways influenza virus’s can be transmitted: (1) by direct contact with infected individuals; (2) by contact with contaminated objects; and (3) by inhalation of virus-laden aerosols.

Written by Al Stevens

April 30th, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Green Technology in Education

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Further and higher education establishments could save money and decrease CO2 emissions by introducing simple measures, according to a report issued today by the UK’s Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). The report presents the findings of JISC’s Green Technology report. It outlines ways in which the intelligent use of technology can create savings of cost, energy or carbon output. The Green Technology Briefing Paper and Strategic Overview are available to read online now.

Press release: The ‘greening’ of ICT in education – new papers launched

Briefing paper: Green ICT: Managing sustainable ICT in education and research
Strategic Overview paper Managing Sustainable ICT in Further and Higher Education: Strategic Overview
Full report Sustainable ICT in Further and Higher Education: SusteIT Final Report

Written by Al Stevens

January 19th, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Carbon Cost of a Google Search

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Harvard physicist Alex Wissner-Gross claims that a typical Google search on a desktop computer produces about 7g CO2.

However, these figures were disputed by Google, who say in the official Google Blog that “one Google search is equivalent to about 0.2 grams of CO2”.

The complete story is on the BBC Website: ‘Carbon cost’ of Google revealed.

Written by Al Stevens

January 12th, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Jesus Leon Santos — grass roots ecology in Oaxaca

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I’m in Oaxaca, Mexico for a few days — enjoying the weather, the food and the people. It’s one the most beautiful places in the world, but very poor. Like many poor places,  people often deal with daily necessities at the expense of a sustainable environment. In the Mixteca Alto, a 6,000 square kilometer region in northern Oaxaca State, grazing, agriculture and forestry practices focused on short term needs have turned what were once lush forests into eroded fields.

Jesus Leon Santos took on this problem 20 years ago and this week he’ll be recognized as one of the winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize. I don’t know Leon Santos. I only came across his story because I’m in Oaxaca, but I find it instructional and inspirational. Several government programs had failed in the region. Leon Santos took a wholistic approach, involving people in reforestation, changing agricultural practices and even changing their eating habits to emphasize locally grown food. The efforts are paying off — there are over a dozen nurseries in different villages; trees are getting planted; ecologically sound drainage ditches are getting built and people are even shifting from raising goats to sheep to protect the trees.

I did get an offer from T-Mobile today — if I switch to paperless billing they will pay to have a tree planted. I was feeling slightly positive about “my tree” until I read what people can really do to affect their environment.

A much more complete description of what Leon Santos is doing is on the Goldman Prize Website.

Written by Al Stevens

April 14th, 2008 at 6:10 pm

Human Impact to the World’s Oceans

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Google Earth view of upper US AtlanticFor a really “big picture” view of how we are impacting the our planet’s oceans, download the KML file from UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis: www.nceas.ucsb.edu/GlobalMarine

Load it into Google Earth and circle the planet. The data is the result of a study that concludes “over 40% of the world’s oceans are heavily affected by human activities and few if any areas remain untouched”. Our ecological footprint is not only large, it’s also very wet.

Written by Al Stevens

February 18th, 2008 at 3:15 pm