What the hell are we doing

Yesterday, I was at the inlaws house for a pre-christmas lunch where we meet up with friends that we haven’t seen for a while. normally its quite nice and the company was certainly great but just before lunch, we had bonbons that mother in law always buys. Apart from the packaging, shipping and unnecessary expense, theres always the ‘toy’ which is almost but not quite entirely useless and unwanted but this year had a special treat. Instead of a indulgent bang you normally get, this year they had plastic boxes about the size of matchboxes installed. then the cracker was pulled, plastic tabs were removed from it and it played a song for about 30 seconds. Thats it. Its clearly designed for a single use as theres no way to re-set it. I had to pull one apart to see what was inside, and discovered a coin battery, small IC and speaker, all packaged and assembled in china and shipped over in plastic and paper for a 30 second song.

These batteries alone contain heavy metals and corosive materials, the speakers of course had magnets etc in them and all this for a 30 second song.

I couldn’t think of a single thing these could be used for (although we could at least play the song again once I worked out how to reset them. once the contacts were closed on the device, the IC stays running and using power even once the song has finished.

This seems to me, to one of those things that in 100 years time, we (ok not us, but someone) will look back and look at the sort of things we do, like christmas lights, and wonder what the hell we were thinking to decide that was a good idea.

Linda, on hearing my amazement, said that they must be ok for the environment as they clearly had to pass a standard to be allowed to be sold didn’t they ?

Maybe we should have such standards. It seems the only thing stopping items like this being sold are people thinking and doing some research on whats in them and thats really too much to ask of people with lives to lead. We need some standards or at least an easy way of knowing whats good and bad to buy.

Solar Panels

Recently I had some solar panels installed. I’m not really sure why other than the feel good factor. We have green power anyway, so we are not really saving carbon, the solar panels have had their carbon credits sold to someone else (before I got them) so someone else is claiming the carbon back anyway and they have an estimated payback period of about 18 years (even after the $8000 government rebate which I got in before the new means test.)

Anyway, its fun to look at the meter and measure how much we are generating. Any spare is just being passed back to the grid and can actually make the meters spin backwards.

405-yr-old clam dredged from the deep – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

405-yr-old clam dredged from the deep – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

It is not known how much longer the mollusc might have lived had it been left on the seabed.

Well, at least its dead now. We won’t have to worry about how long things can live for.

I guess it didn’t think far enough in the future to protect itself from modern fishing practices.

Something I’ve noticed about the weather

In the office we have been monitoring and recording temperatures for just over 5 years. As you can see from the data below, there were some problems originally setting up the server to record the data but as of about august 2002 we have been quite reliable.

With all these people talking about global warming etc, I think I’ve found a trend that may have escaped other peoples notice. If you look at the graph below you will probably notice what I did. It seems to get warmer towards the end of the year and colder again in the middle.

I know this is only 5 years worth of data but it seems pretty clear to me that there is a definite pattern emerging. Of course I’ve been wrong in the past. Click on the image for a larger version if you need more detail.tempratures

Weather spreadsheet

RealClimate » 1934 and all that

In a previous post, I mentioned the  NASA error in US mean land temperatures and how I was surprised that its not more commonly mentioned as an ‘anti global warming’ argument. Well, since then I’ve had many discussions with people about it and most had seen it somewhere so its definitely being used.

Much like the christians touting fossil gaps as  proof that evolution is false, they fail to understand that even with no fossils at all, theres still overwhelming evidence for evolution. Similarly with the global warming discussion, theres still far to much evidence to be ignored. While is possible it all could be wrong (as with evolution) the evidence points to a particular conclusion.

RealClimate » 1934 and all that