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Monthly Archives: February 2009
India’s Tata family (of car, steel, appliance, etc fame) decided this part of the coast could not be left in its pristine state but would be ‘benefited’ by building one of India’s largest ports at Dhamra. This is less than 15 km. from the turtle mass nesting beaches at Gahirmatha, and just five kilometres from the Bhitarkanika National Park, India’s second largest mangrove forest and home to the saltwater crocodile, aside from other lesser known natural wonders.
Not surprisingly, the plan immediately met with considerable protest from conservation circles.
Join Greenpeace India’s fight to tell the Tatas to close the port. The simple demand is that the port project be shelved, at the very least until a comprehensive study has been conducted to assess the port’s impacts on the ecology of this fragile area.
This is needed as the only “assessment” done for the project is over 10 years old, replete with errors and omissions and has no scientific credibility. The project has also invited heavy criticism from over 200 national and international scientists, including over 30 experts of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s marine turtle specialist group.
Don’t say Tata to the Turtles: Take action now!
We have house guests here at Casa Fitzgerald, one of whom emailed his grandmother back in the States. She was overjoyed to get an email from Amsterdam:
“I didn’t know the internet worked across oceans!”
How much does it cost to run a dryer instead of hanging our clothes over the stairs, where the rising heat from the living room provides a free service? How much CO2 do I waste leaving a compact flourescent light burning? What percentage of my monthly energy bill is spent running wall-warts (transformers) that aren’t actually plugged into anything?
I can’t answer any of these questions today, because I have a dumb house on a dumb grid and receive a dumb electricty bill.
The geek in me wants to fix this.
The environmentalist in me wants to fix this.
The skinflint in me wants to fix this.
Who will help me fix this?
I like the looks of the Insteon range, which is supposed to be released soon in a 220 volt version. These are great gadgets, which allow you to put programmable control and monitoring on appliances, so you can measure how much juice and how many euros that dryer takes, but also do stuff like programme lights to come on or off when doors are open or shut, put timing macros in place so that bedside light doesn’t stay on all night after you’ve fallen asleep over your book, or even control your electricity use remotely via an internet interface.
I also like some of the stuff Google is researching and funding in terms of open source energy bills, smart meters, and most importantly, the Smart Grid.
First step, get some monitoring in place. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Now there’s words to live by.
Friday Game (Thanks, Adele!)
1. Put your iPod (or any media player) on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button (») to get your answer.
3. You must write that song name down no matter how silly it sounds!
4. Tag friends who might enjoy doing the game as well as the person you got the game from.
If someone says “is this okay,” you say?
Trouble, you can’t fool me — Ry Cooder
What would best describe your personality?
What do you like in a guy/girl?
Black Crow — Joni Mitchell
What is your life’s purpose?
War — Bruce Springsteen
What is your motto?
Man in the long black coat — Bob Dylan
What do your friends think of you?
Cross-eyed Mary — Jethro Tull
What do you often think about?
Last Night — Travelling Wilburys
What is 2+2?
I wanted to be wrong –REM
What do you think of your best friend?
Love is a good thing — Sheryl Crow
What do you think of the person you like?
Glad to be alive — blue rodeo
What is your life story?
End of the Innocence — Jackson Browne, Bruce Hornsby
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Life goes on — Angie Stone
What do you think when you see the person you like?
Give a man a home — Ben Harper
What do your parents think of you?
Scar Tissue — Red Hot Chili Peppers
What will you dance to at your wedding?
Run on — Moby
What will they play at your funeral?
Strings of Love — Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
What is your hobby/interest?
Jesus, etc… –Wilco
What is your biggest secret?
Sea Song –Doves
What do you think of your friends?
A long december — Counting Crows
How will you die?
Horse Pills — Dandy Warhols
What’s the worst thing that could happen?
You’re still standin’ there — Steve Earle
What is the one thing you regret?
Shelter from the Storm — Bob Dylan
What makes you laugh?
Sara — Fleetwood Mac
What makes you cry?
Amor de Loca Juventud – Buena Vista Social Club
Will you ever get married?
Radio Radio — Elvis Costello
What scares you the most?
Spirits Drifting — Brian Eno
Does anyone like you?
Here comes the flood — Peter Gabriel
If you could go back in time, what would you change?
A man and a woman — U2
What hurts right now?
The Caves of Altamira — Steely Dan
What do you say in the morning when you first wake up?
Living with War — Neil Young
What will you post this as?
Wow — Kate Bush
I get up, feed the cats, make some eggs for the still-sleeping boys, make a cup of tea in my broad-bottomed ship’s mug. Listen to the quiet of the early morning.
All last week I had a fever off and on, at one point so severe that I was experiencing tiny bouts of that minor aphasia you get when single words stop making sense, when textures feel alien and everything is charged with strangeness.
Neil Young claims to have written Cowgirl in the Sand, Down by the River, and Cinnamon Girl while he ran a temperature of nearly 40 degrees Celsius (103 F). I wish I had never heard this story, as it has haunted my unproductive chilled and shivering attempts to sleep off every fever since. All I could do was read, but what I read was wonderful: In Patagonia, by Bruce Chatwin.
Were he alive today, Chatwin would be one of the world’s most celebrated bloggers. In Patagonia is a travel book, but there is only the thinnest of narrative arcs to this work. It’s a blog. A big, beautiful set of perfect small chapters that capture, perfectly observed, a character or a piece of landscape or a scene from history — be it a mystery about Butch Cassady and the Sundance Kid’s travels, the natural history of the Mylodon, the migrations of early human beings in South America, or the shipwreck adventures of the man on whom Coolidge modelled his Ancient Mariner. Each chapter a box crafted so finely, it snaps shut with a satisfying click.
Beyond that, the accomplihsments of my week were few.
I did a little digital gardening. I removed “brianfitfriends” from Twitter. This was a feed of my friends’ Facebook Status messages, via twitterfeed. Unfortunately, it was also an automated Facebook privacy settings violation mechanism. Status messages in Facebook are private to your friends, unless someone thoughtlessly decides to broadcast them out into the TwitterScape. Whoops. Sorry, friends.
I installed Tweetdeck. YES! Tweetdeck just lays out all your incoming tweets, tweet responses, and direct messages in a convenient layout. It also chirps nicely.
The other thing I did with my week, of course, was fall horribly behind at work. Which now beckons.