23 February, 2010

Bloom Boxes - Great, or Blooming Disasters?

I said I'd been in IT, Systems Admin, and security long enough to be permanently affected.  And I stand by that. Who else, on reading a piece of seemingly excellent news like this, would then immediately (well, okay, it took me about six minutes to see the Dark Side...) have reservations?

On the surface, you'd have to agree that this is a positively brilliant bit of news.  A large scale fuel cell electric generator cheap enough to power homes, scaleable enough to power data centers and office blocks.  Not only that but it's clean.  It takes in oxygen and fuel, and cleanly turns that into electricity.  If this gizmo is the biz fer shiz, then humanity is saved, hurrah! The Earth is saved, hurrah! And Global Warming is no more, hurrah, hurrah, hurrah! (Launch into a rousing chorus of "ding dong the witch is dead!")

So why am I not convinced? What bloody Dark Side?  Ah sweet innocent and gullible customer, let me count the ways:
  • It's a Business that's producing this.  Businesses have traditionally not given a pink and purple spotted flying jump at the moon for the Earth, or the People of Earth, but in fact only care about The Money Of The People Of Earth.
  • Being that the Bloom Box is being produced by a Business, there is going to be a Price To Pay.
  • Aside from the glib "black dye" and "green dye" explanations, no explanation what making those chemicals costs in environmental terms.
  • No word on how long the "black dye" and "green dye" last before needing replacing.
  • No word on what happens to the oxygen that goes in one side - gone forever? Turned into water vapour? 
  • No word on what the "fuel" will consist of.  Is it easy to produce?  Costly in environmental terms?
  • No word on how much "fuel" it will consume.  Lots?  Sips?
  • No word on where the "fuel" will come from?  Is it by chance a "secret sauce" of Bloom and therefore they can name their price for it? 
It's always in the glaring omissions, isn't it?  These boxes are no good at all if they can't be produced en masse by a multitude of manufacturers, in a multitude of sizes, and burn the least environmentally damaging renewable and commonly available fuel.  

But that's just my natural skepticism talking, what do I know about the Real World?

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    18 February, 2010

    We Could Always Eat Johnson, Sir!

    I must be having a fractious day. All sorts of things are irking me today. Such as this article which ends with this paragraph:
    "Intelligence Only Seen in Great Apes and Humans
    In terms of numerical skills, elephants outperform primates and human children. When researchers tested elephants' ability to differentiate two quantities of objects placed in buckets, they performed very well: Equally as good determining between five and six objects as between one and two.
    Professor Dick Byrne of St Andrew's University said elephants have "proved to have abilities which have only been found elsewhere in the great apes and humans. We're a bit limited by how little we know about elephants, but the off glimmers we get seem to be rather remarkable.""
    Now excuse me my nitpicking but this is precisely what other biologists have said about cetaceans like whales or dolphins, and about octopuses, and about a whole range of other animals. Isn't it time they just lumped all these species into a classification of "highly intelligent" and be done with it?  It's indicative of our elitism and self-obsession, that even our scientists can't just come out and say it like it is.

    This also calls into question the human reaction to intelligence and basic rights.  When the world was still a very new place to us, other races were considered unintelligent and only worth enslaving.  Then most of the world got it, and all races are now afforded the basic rights of intelligent beings anywhere.  (Of course, the majority of people still don't bother to learn a language other than their own, and we still have extremely racist views on the whole.  But this is a damn sight better than the "kill 'em or chain 'em" attitude we had only a few generations ago...)

    So as a whole, we accept that others' viewpoints are as valid as our own, we accept that other races have as much right to live as we do.  But practically, we don't share our wealth with the people who need it more than we do, we don't decrease our prodigious consumption of resources so that others might live better, and we're generally still very hypocritical of others' rights.

    And now we know that all these other species are as intelligent as us but in different ways, I wonder how long before we extend basic rights to them?  And no I'm not kidding here - there was the chimp in Austria for whom the people were seeking "person" status, and I believe a few others have also made that legal journey.

    But of course, elephants are so much nicer if we keep them in zoos to look at, and whales (apparently, ask the japanese,) are delicious, and octopuses make good bait, and monkeys and apes make us laugh cos they're so cute like "little people."  Oh bugger - it's all too hard, let someone else deal with these rights issues another time.  And I'm not kidding here, either.  Sadly, we'll probably go on mistreating all these others because we don't understand what they're saying...

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    Who Cries Over Closed Coal Plants?

    Mark Wilson, I think you're a fuckwit.  What's so depressing about one of the most polluting power sources known to man being shut down?  I also looked for any sign of irony in your termination phrase where you're encouraging people to buy a new piece of technology rather than live a bit frugally and responsibly - but I suspect my first analysis of you was right....

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    07 February, 2010

    Quick roundup of the week

    So I've given my favourite businesses a big nod in another article, what's left to talk about?  At 2AM Sunday morning we actually had a rain shower that had me outside taking washing down and re-hanging it under cover - and stopped as soon as I'd done that... But if it actually registers on the gauge, then it'll be the end to one of the driest starts to summer pretty much in recorded history.  Anyone that wants to be a climate change denier needs to tell that shit to my plants...

    We've had a "bring out yer dead" kerbside rubbish collection, or as I prefer to call them, "materiel relocation events."  I can't help myself, I generally have a dozen projects on the go here at the cottage and they are generally waiting on only one or two items to finish them.  And of course then I find something else as I go checking stuff out so then I have another project started...

    I also took the opportunity to throw out what I consider rubbish - the remnants of a small petrol scooter I have every useable part off, (and most already in use,) a washing machine ditto, a lawn mower ditto.  Trish observed that when I throw out rubbish, it really IS rubbish.  I have to concur.  I don't see how throwing out material that was harvested or dug out of the Earth and then manufactured at great energy costs, is a good thing in any way shape or form.  If you can squeeze one more use out of it, that's better than buying something new to fulfill that one use.  

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    03 February, 2010

    Perth Goes More Local

    Nice to see slow and local food values appearing.  Well done Perth peoples!

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