Archive for the ‘random bits’ Category

After a bit of surfing, I’m back to blogging.



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“Drive less, surf more” is the best advice I have heard on mitigating human GHG emissions. Surfers serve as an indicator subspecies. Spending time at the interface of wind and wave, a surfer’s health reflects the state of the atmospheric and aquatic environments. If you ever enjoy spending time on the moist margins, here is how climate change might change your coastal environments.

“Do you have any advice for a traveler?”
“Yes. Get a beach house.”

“A beach house isn’t just real estate. It’s a state of mind.”

“A beach house doesn’t even have to be on the beach. Though the best ones are. We all like to congregate,” he went on, “at boundary conditions.”
“Really?” said Arthur.
“Where land meets water. Where earth meets air. Where body meets mind. Where space meets time. We like to be on one side, and look at the other.”
Arthur got terribly excited. this was exactly the sort of thing he’d been promised in the brochure. Here was a man who seemed to be moving through some kind of Escher space saying really profound things about all sorts of stuff.

“You come to me for advice, but you can’t cope with anything you don’t recognize.”

–from Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless, pp. 80-81

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No lawsuits please. These images are being used to educate educators. Anyway, the this post will self destruct soon. carbon-capture-storage.ppt

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Disclaimer: The author writes this from the periphery of the inner circle. Humor is a way of having fun while making fun of. In this case, I’m taking sides (the side of the party that pays), yet I am the bearer and the brunt of this hilarity. But before becoming upset, realize that I am telling jokes in the mirror.

In the face of peak oil, Texas lawyers are getting briefed on climate change. Billable hours are set to correlate with global average temperature. New regulations and cap and trade schemes will bring steady work for some stress-ridden scriveners, but the big money will be in litigation. In the wild west, Houston lawyers are queuing up represent insurance companies in law suits against energy companies. As reported by Greenwire, one lawyer predicted that “You’re going to see some really serious exposure on the part of companies that are emitting CO2.” In an even more ambitious attempt to cash in on contingency fees, another group of barristers is filing a class action suit against God. Even if this case is settled out of court, there is a chance that carbon sequestration will not be necessary.

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The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Chinese officials may halt plans to develop diesel from coal. Although dependence on petroleum imports is still a concern, it appears that the energy and capital intensity of  the coal liquefying industry render it less appealing. The coal to liquids process also consumes large amounts of coal and water–two resources in high demand. One factor that was not mentioned is CO2 emissions. See the 16 May entry in this blog for more.

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Huizi said to Zhuangzi “Your words are useless!”

Zhuangzi said, “You have to understand the useless before you can talk about the useful. The earth is certainly vast and broad, though you use only the area under your feet. If, however, you dug away all the earth from around your feet until you reached Hades, then would it still be useful?”

“No, it would be useless,” replied Huizi.

“It is obvious, then,” said Zhuangzi, “that uselessness is useful.”

惠子謂莊子曰:”子言無用.” 莊子曰:”知無用而始可與言用矣. 天地非不廣且大也,人之所用容足耳. 然則廁足而墊之至黃泉,人尚有用乎?” 惠子曰:”無用.” 莊子曰:”然則無用之為用也亦明矣.”

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The idea of sequestering carbon by introducing iron into the ocean to fertilize phytoplankton blooms has been around at least since John Martin began advocating it in the 1980s. Several experiments have been conducted without success. Now that CO2 emissions are beginning to have a cost, and emissions reduction patents could bring millions in profit, iron fertilization is being revisited. It seems so simple, dump some iron in the ocean, phytoplankton gobble it up, die, then sink to the ocean floor. Yet the complication are myriad. Read this entry and comments on the Real Climate blog. Here is the Wikipedia article. The issue of ocean acidification is not unrelated. Don’t fool with Mother Ocean.

Update: Researchers have found that the Southern Ocean is nearly saturated with CO2. See also Science magazine’s online news for 17 May 2007, which includes the story “Don’t Bet on Bloomin’ Plankton“. The story explains that recent research questions the role that plankton blooms play in sequestering carbon. Plankton might actually be a net source of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Moreover, despite what the U.S. president says, GHG emissions appear to increasing.

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