Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘we only get one planet and we're ruining it

Tennessee

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 31, 2008 at 1:55 am

There’s No Such Thing as Clean Coal

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Last week’s Tennessee coal disaster is already said to be three times worse than originally thought.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 27, 2008 at 7:17 pm

‘An Environmental 9/11 in Tennessee’

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Millions of yards of ashy sludge broke through a dike at TVA’s Kingston coal-fired plant Monday, covering hundreds of acres, knocking one home off its foundation and putting environmentalists on edge about toxic chemicals that may be seeping into the ground and flowing downriver. Comment at Gristmill and Open Left, which calls this “an environmental 9/11.” (via Vu)

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December 24, 2008 at 1:53 am

Geo-Engineering

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Tinkering with the atmosphere or the oceans on the scale required to do this would be highly risky and extraordinarily complex. But the alternative, getting the world’s population to give up fossil fuels, is proving exceedingly hard. Geo-engineering, as it has come to be known, may be a way of buying time for the transition to a low-carbon economy to take place in an orderly manner.

In the past, geo-engineering was taboo because many felt that the very possibility of fiddling with the climate would create an excuse to avoid the hard choices a low-carbon economy would impose. However, the feeling is now growing that if politicians came to scientists for advice on the matter, it would be a good idea for them to have some to offer. To that end, the Royal Society, Britain’s oldest scientific academy, has published a series of papers in its Philosophical Transactions outlining some of the options, and suggesting a few experiments to test whether they would work.

Geo-engineering: the diet pills of ecology. If you want to keep the weight off and stay healthy, you’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to exercise, and you’ve got to go on a diet. Via Ezra Klein.

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September 9, 2008 at 1:40 pm

Interstellar Travel

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Via the MetaFilter thread on that Nick Bostrom article hoping there’s no sign of alien life I blogged a few days ago comes an article by Charlie Stross on interstellar distances and the obscene costs that would be involved in traveling anywhere off-world.

When we look at the rest of the solar system, the picture is even bleaker. Mars is … well, the phrase “tourist resort” springs to mind, and is promptly filed in the same corner as “Gobi desert”. As Bruce Sterling has puts it: “I’ll believe in people settling Mars at about the same time I see people settling the Gobi Desert. The Gobi Desert is about a thousand times as hospitable as Mars and five hundred times cheaper and easier to reach. Nobody ever writes “Gobi Desert Opera” because, well, it’s just kind of plonkingly obvious that there’s no good reason to go there and live. It’s ugly, it’s inhospitable and there’s no way to make it pay. Mars is just the same, really. We just romanticize it because it’s so hard to reach.” In other words, going there to explore is fine and dandy — our robots are all over it already. But as a desirable residential neighbourhood it has some shortcomings, starting with the slight lack of breathable air and the sub-Antarctic nighttime temperatures and the Mach 0.5 dust storms, and working down from there.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 13, 2008 at 1:13 pm