Sunday, October 10, 2010

Transport routes proposed for Jerusalem

New transport routes proposed for Jerusalem

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Taking composting a step further

Remember Soylent Green, the movie with Charleston Heston where he discovers this super food soylent green is based on human remains ? Here is a poem by Lee Hays which sort of has a similar idea.Wonder how my neighbors will react to corpses in my compost pile .

In Dead Earnest

If I should die before I wake
All my bone and sinew take
Put them in the compost pile
To decompose a little while
Sun, rain and worms will have their way
Reducing me to common clay
All that I am will feed the trees
And little fishes in the seas
When corn and radishes you munch
You may be having me for lunch
Then excrete me with a grin
Chortling, There goes Lee again
'Twill be my happiest destiny
To die and live eternally

Lee Hays, 1981


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Carbon offset calculator

Carbon calculator at terrapass. Another calculator

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So how much to green my India trip ?

So lately the biggest perk at work is trips to India, very welcome if you have folks back home. But these trips come at an expense, a total of 3,300 kg of carbon dioxide, say 4000lb of carbon dioxide including trips to/from the airport, very carbon intensive accommodation and food that has definitely a lot of miles. So for a mere $ 23.80 I can be absolved of my carbon indiscretion. On the other hand, a tree is estimated to offset about 2000 lb of CO2 in its lifetime. So I am off to planting two trees which I hope to do over the weekend.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

So will you pee in your sink ?

Human urine is loaded with nitrates , great for the plants and every time you use the loo you flush down 5-10 liters of clean drinking water to flush it away. Now for an entirely hypothetical solution. Say your spouse is averse to not flushing the loo after every use and equally averse to bottles of pee in the loo and you have a greywater system connected to the bath sink that goes to the plants outside, would you let all of these nitrates go waste along with fresh potable water or would you pee in your sink ?

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010


testing blogging with my mobile phone, works but a pain.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So do you want a free telephone directory ?

So yesterday the telephone company distributed telephone directories in Jerusalem . Loads and loads of big fat directories to everyone , want it or not . Who uses a telephone directory these days ? The print I realised was so small that a granny ( I am assuming its only the granny generation would use a directory ) wouldn't be able to read a thing . Unless you are referring to the Yellow Pages . There is directory service at 144 ( you pay for it ) , there is directory service on the internet at Dapey Zahav and many others . And then it struck me , it is for the yellow pages , it is an advertisement as all the junk 'supplements' that one gets with the weekend newspaper , like the junk newspaper that one is handed out on the traffic crossing . But then how much does this add to the waste stream ? Yesterday the street was littered with the directories and tomorrow all the bins will be full of directories since nobody will bother to take the old ones for recycling . I weighed the directory and it weighs about 800 grams , with a very conservative estimate of 100,000 directories distributed in Jerusalem , it works out to 80 tonnes of newsprint . If 12 pines 40 feet (12.2m) tall, 8 inches (20cm) in diameter trees give a ton of newsprint , so that works out to 960 trees !! If the trees are spaced at 3 meters , each tree takes 9 sq.m which works out to 8640 sq.m of forest . So for the pleasure of distributing free directories in the city of Jerusalem we cut down nearly a hectare of of forest which is between 10-14 years . And we did not begin to talk about the energy required from the raw material stage to the delivery of the product .

So how many trees would make a ton of paper?

Claudia Thompson, in her book Recycled Papers: The Essential Guide (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992), reports on an estimate calculated by Tom Soder, then a graduate student in the Pulp and Paper Technology Program at the University of Maine. He calculated that, based on a mixture of softwoods and hardwoods 40 feet tall and 6-8 inches in diameter, it would take a rough average of 24 trees to produce a ton of printing and writing paper, using the kraft chemical (freesheet) pulping process.

If we assume that the groundwood process is about twice as efficient in using trees, then we can estimate that it takes about 12 trees to make a ton of groundwood and newsprint. (The number will vary somewhat because there often is more fiber in newsprint than in office paper, and there are several different ways of making this type of paper.)

Some more paper stats here .

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The cornflakes research story

Ages back I read about some research into the nutritional qualities of cornflakes, interesting but I wonder if there is a way to validate it.
Paul Stitt described one in his book Fighting the Food Giants. Four sets of rats were given special diets. One group received plain whole wheat, water, vitamins and minerals. Another group received Puffed Wheat, water and the same nutrient solution. A third set was given water and white sugar, and a fourth given nothing but water and the chemical nutrients. The rats that received the whole wheat lived over a year on the diet. The rats that got nothing but water and vitamins lived for about eight weeks, and the animals on a white sugar and water diet lived for a month. But [the company’s] own laboratory study showed that rats given vitamins, water and all the Puffed Wheat they wanted died in two weeks. It wasn’t a matter of the rats dying of malnutrition; results like these suggested that there was something actually toxic about the Puffed Wheat itself. Proteins are very similar to certain toxins in molecular structure, and the puffing process of putting the grain under 1500 pounds per square inch of pressure and then releasing it may produce chemical changes which turn a nutritious grain into a poisonous substance.

The other study, described in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, was performed in 1960 by researchers at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Eighteen rats were divided into three groups. One group received cornflakes and water; a second group was given the cardboard box that the cornflakes came in and water; and the control group received rat chow and water. The rats in the control group remained in good health throughout the experiment. The rats receiving the box became lethargic and eventually died of malnutrition. But the rats receiving cornflakes and water died before the rats that were given the box – the last cornflake rat died on the day the first box rat died. Before death the cornflake rats developed schizophrenic behavior, threw fits, bit each other and finally went into convulsions. Autopsy revealed dysfunction of the pancreas, liver and kidneys and degeneration of the nerves in the spine – all signs of "insulin shock." The startling conclusion of this study is that there is more nourishment in the box that cold breakfast cereals come in than in the cereals themselves.

The rest of the article here.