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The EPOC headset and Tan Le are super fly.  In just a few years I imagine the headset will be minute, hidden from vision. I will walk into a room and control it with my mind.

Watch out world…

-Cara

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All night time-lapse video of the sky in Fort Davis, Texas. The footage was taken with 15mm fisheye lens.  An array of stars, constellations, meteors and satellites can be seen passing overhead for most of the evening. The video ends with the bright galactic core of the Milky Way rising above the horizon and overhead. Higher resolution videos and astrophotographs here.

Hot stuff.

-Cara

BluePlanetEarth

Zeitgeist (n) – the spirit of the time; the spirit characteristic of an age or generation

Addendum (n) -something to be added

I never watched Zeitgeist: The Movie. I came across Zeitgeist: Addendum the other day and since my thinking hasn’t been the same. It has given me a better sense of focus, new ideas to think about and hope. Look, I am not saying I am drinking the Kool-Aide, there are things I don’t agree with; for one, their take on religion. I get where they are coming from, but I am enlightened to something else.

I will not go on and on about the movie. If you want to watch it for free you can here (although I am not sure why they would choose Google Video to host the movie. It is part of the problem, not the solution. Maybe they feel it will reach a bigger audience, but I am not too sure that is the way to go. UPDATE 1-22-2011 I JUST CLICKED ON THE LINK AND IT GOES TO VIMEO NOW. THAT’S COOL.). I myself downloaded it from someone else.  I am going to watch Zeitgeist: The Movie at some point, but for now I still have a lot to think about with Zeitgeist: Addendum, so I’ll wait. Addendum can definitely stand alone.

I would love to hear people’s opinion after watching the film. I have already had a few cool conversations about it. I have burned it for a couple of people. I would like to keep passing it around and then people can pass their copies around and see how fast it spreads.  I want a better world and I know it is possible.

Do not fear the robots.

-Cara

One of my former co-workers, Guillaume, brought this site to my attention. The video makes it sound like it is the start of an awesome site. There is a blog about the coming of GlobalPost. There is also a registration page, where you can sign up for the launch on January 12th.

I hope it is not an illusion or distraction. We will see.

Observe your surroundings and discover the truth.

-Cara

crushed

I watched a movie tonight called, “Who Killed the Electric Car“. and it was a great documentary on the electric car and the auto industry’s, mainly General Motors’ relationship with the government and their consumers. There is definitely a lot of information in that movie that people need to be made aware of. At least so they can make the right decisions about their effect on the environment through their car consumerism. I mean it’s conspiracies theories coming true right in front of your eyes. General Motors is an anti-green company run by middle east controlled monkeys in love with money, which still hasn’t been able to fill that void within them.

After the movie I felt a bit overwhelmed and not sure what was that I could do about the issue of the auto industry’s insistence on keeping Americans addicted to oil, especially foreign oil or George Bush’s desire to take nature preserves in Alaska and destroy them by drilling for a minimal amount of oil. During “Who Killed the Electric Car”, they mention a web site called, Plug In America. It was there I found a petition you can sign to automakers stating, “Plug-in vehicles are in America’s national interest. They decrease fuel costs, greenhouse gases and our dependence on foreign oil. I want to buy a vehicle that runs on cleaner, cheaper domestic electricity. I want to be able to plug in my car! Please manufacture plug-in vehicles immediately.” You can even start your own petition drive by printing this form and getting people to sign. At Co-Op America they have a petition speaking out to Ford about the importance of produce plug-in hybrids. These and other things I found here can make a difference, you just need to take the few minutes it takes to do it. In the long run it is definitely worth it.

Be good.

-Cara

On Oct 4th after months of rehabilitation, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), along with members from Centro de Recuperação de Animais Marinhos (CRAM), Institute for Aquatic Mammals (IMA) and the environmental authority in Brazil, Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (IBAMA), 372 juvenile Magellanic Penguins, stranded because of inadequate food stocks, were loaded onto a military plane and airlifted to Southern Brazil for their release back to the wild.

According to Dr. Dee Boersma, a penguin researcher, the mass stranding of the penguins left them in extremely poor body condition. She states, there is a flow of warmer water (1° C higher than normal) which has caused the juvenile penguins to keep going north, past their usual range, where they are unable to find adequate food. There is always a high mortality rate for first year birds but this increased northerly range and lack of available food had increased the normal mortality rate for this group of penguins.

There is also the Penguin Network, which is works with The International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC), that put a lot of work into this and other bird rescue projects.

I don’t know what to say, but it seems like we might have broken something…

-Cara

With that said…

The Day After An Inconvenient Truth

The Day After An Inconvenient Truth via e-mail, a gift from me to you.

You’re Welcome. :]

-Cara

I am on vacation and have not been writing many blog entries lately and need to catch up, so lets start with what we can do about dry-cell battery disposal/recycling.

First lets cover what dry-cell batteries are, they include alkaline and carbon zinc (9-volt, D, C, AA, AAA), mercuric-oxide (button, some cylindrical and rectangular), silver-oxide and zinc-air (button), and lithium (9-volt, C, AA, coin, button, rechargeable).

There are two types of batteries:
1.  Primary — those that can not be reused
2.  Secondary also known as “rechargeable” — those that can be reused.

Primary batteries include alkaline/manganese, carbon-zinc, mercuric-oxide, zinc-air, silver-oxide, and other types of button batteries. Secondary batteries (rechargeable) include lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, and potentially nickel-hydrogen.

Next, lets talk about some potential problems or hazards with throwing away your batteries in your household garbage.

  1. When burned, they pollute the lakes and streams as heavy metals vaporize into the air.
  2. Heavy metals leaking from old batteries into the Earth.
  3. Exposing the environment to more lead and acid.
  4. Containing strong corrosive acids.
  5. May cause burns to your eyes and skin.

In landfills, heavy metals have the potential to leak slowly into Earth’s soil, groundwater or surface water. Dry cell batteries contribute about 88 percent of the total mercury and 50 percent of the cadmium in the municipal solid waste stream. In the past, batteries accounted for nearly half of the mercury used in the United States and over half of the mercury and cadmium in the municipal solid waste stream. When burned, some heavy metals such as mercury may vaporize and escape into the air, and cadmium and lead may end up in the ash.

Here are some tips to reduce battery waste, starting with prevention, which create less potentially hazardous waste from seeping into our Earth.

  1. First, whenever possible, buy hand operated, solar powered, kinetic powered, water powered, wind powered, potato powered :] items that function without batteries. If that is not an option, I feel as though plug operated is better for the environment than buying heavy metal laden batteries.
  2. If you need batteries buy rechargeable batteries, but remember that they also contain heavy metals such as nickel-cadmium, so it is still a problem, but less of one than non-rechargeable batteries.
  3. Look for the batteries that contain less mercury and heavy metals than others.
  4. Lastly, if batteries are your only option, before buying more check to see if you already have some at home.

We must keep in mind, that yes, rechargeable batteries result in a longer life span and use of fewer batteries. However, rechargeable batteries still contain heavy metals such as nickel-cadmium. The use of rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries can reduce the number of batteries entering the waste stream, but may increase the amount of heavy metals entering unless they are more effectively recycled. As of 1992, the percentage of cadmium in nickel-cadmium batteries was higher than the percentage of mercury in alkaline batteries, so substitution might only replace one heavy metal for another, and rechargeable batteries do use energy resources in recharging. When disposing of rechargeable batteries, recycle. [Source: ESHO]

Here is a great link to Call-2-Recycle, whom I wrote about in my fourth TDAAIT entry, back in January! All you need to do is put in your zip code and they will tell you where to take your recyclable batteries (and old cell phones).

If you did not find a place through Call-2-Recycle for your rechargeable batteries, you can always bring them to any of these locations to recycle:

In the US: Alltel, Batteries Plus, Best Buy, Black & Decker, Cingular Wireless, The Home Depot, Milwaukee Electric Tool, Orchard Supply, Porter Cable Service Center, RadioShack, Remington Product Company, Sears, Staples, Target, US Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and Wal-Mart.

If you are in Canada: Battery Plus, Bell Mobility, Canadian Tire, FIDO/Microcell, Future Shop, The Home Depot, Home Hardware, London Drugs, Makita Factory Service Centers, Personal Edge/Centre du Rasoir, RadioShack Canada, Revy, Sasktel, Sears, The Sony Store, Telus Mobility and Zellers.

There are not a lot of places that recycle non-rechargeable (typically “alkaline batteries”) that I could find. The best bet is to go to Earth 911 and put in their search feature, “alkaline batteries” and the zip code where you live. I know in NYC we have places for New York residents (only) to take alkaline batteries, maybe you do to!!!

One day I hope we no longer need batteries.

:]

-Cara

This might not seem like a green issue to some, but I think it is, and since I am the master of my domain…

I dread having to go to these weather web sites, for instance, The Weather Channel’s site or any of the multitudes of corporate and news media’s fugly sites. Not only are they far from being aesthetically pleasing, they’re saturated with millions of dollars worth of unsustainable product advertising.

I might not trust the government on much, but in the case of weather, I have a feeling they are telling the truth, at least to the best of their abilities.

For people who want to know the weather free of blinking, annoying, unsustainable advertising, may the American Government and I present to you the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s  National Weather Service’s web site. It might not be fancy, but you’ll get what you came for.

See you can find good in everything.

: ]

-Cara

Marine is designing a crazy cat palace of some sort, so we went to Home Depot yesterday to look for stuff and get ideas. One of the materials Marine wanted to use was PVC…

I almost fainted. :) Marine this entry goes out to you. :* You’re welcome!

There’s an awesome documentary, Blue Vinyl (Netflix has it…just saying…), I watched a million years ago, that schooled me on the evils of PVC.

The most informative site on PVC. – http://www.pvcfree.org/

PBS TV’s “Trade Secrets: A Moyers Report“, a documentary that exposes workplace, and environmental poisoning. Some stuff about PVC and other such things in this one.

And last, but not least, a good read, PVC- A Health Hazard From Production through Disposal.

It’s a shame, I love the new shower smell, the smell of a new car. I can’t tell you how many times I inhaled that smell…deeply.

No PVC for us!

-Cara

I thought it would be cool to put up some of my pictures once and awhile, that go along with this blog’s point, theme, mood, or whatever you want to call it. Not only just that, but my pictures and photography web site will get some exposure, which they both could use! :)

Sometimes I will include commentary and other times, like now, I will leave the photo for you to deconstruct.

This is the view of the building across the street, from my roof, in NYC.

Unplug.

-Cara

The last few Sundays have been games, games, and games, so I decided it was quiz time.

It’s the Green Quiz straight out of Yale. This one is all about product consumption and disposal, and its impact on the world. The design is clean and done well.

It’s fun.

-Cara

I don’t know where you are from, but it is getting super hot in NYC. Along with the heat of summer comes the seasonal struggle of, do I turn on the air conditioner or don’t I? With me it is not just my decision, but also the decision of my girlfriend Marine, who is what you would call a “delicate flower” when it comes to heat. What I mean by delicate flower is, if she senses heat might be anywhere in the vicinity, it is time to shut all the windows, turn on all the a.c.’s and fans and to cease all movement. Without the air conditioner things get dangerous around here.

What I thought I would do after already experiencing round one of our seasonal fight is write an entry on why a.c. is not cool and some helpful tips besides using a.c. to cool down. Fell free to comment with any additional tips you know.

First it is important to learn how an air conditioner works.

AC

Air conditioning is not about adding cool air to the room, but more about drawing the heat out. The end result is a space without that menacing and sweltering air. Air conditioning is in effect just the result of evaporation. A swab of alcohol rubbed on your skin makes you feel cooler as the liquid evaporates. In reality the alcohol does not lower your body temperature, but rather draws heat away from the air as it turns to a gas.

Air conditioning units contain refrigerant, a chemical which has the unique ability to change from a gas to a liquid in a short amount of time. Air conditioning units form a closed system which consist of a compressor, a condenser, and an expansion valve. Motorized fans within the unit aide in circulating conditioned air, while the thin metal fins on the back of your air conditioner allow heat to dissipate quickly.

Air conditioning starts with the refrigerant entering the compressor. The state of the refrigerant is a cool gas at this stage. Next, the gas enters the compressor’s inner chamber, the compressor squeezes the refrigerant and the gas becomes a very hot liquid under high pressure. This hot liquid goes through a series of condensing coils placed outside of the room being cooled. The heat dissipates into the outside air. Once the refrigerant reaches the end of these coils, it is significantly cooler and in liquid form.

The liquid in a high pressure state, at this juncture the liquid refrigerant is forced through the expansion valve. This valve has an extremely small opening, which forces the liquid refrigerant out of the other end of the expansion valve as a very fine mist. Because refrigerant evaporates at a much lower temperature than water, it begins to evaporate while traveling through another set of coils, which are located in the room being cooled. It is this evaporation action that draws heat out of the air, which includes the air in the room being processed. The air conditioning unit’s fan then blows across the metal fins over these coils, blowing cool air into the room and eliminating heat. Lastly, the liquid refrigerant becomes a cold gas again and re-enters the compressor, where the entire process begins again.

Essentially, air conditioning takes indoor heat and pushes it outdoors. To do this, it uses energy, which increases production of greenhouse gases (a little side note on global warming, check out this article on DeSmog Blog) which warm the atmosphere. From a cooling standpoint, the first transaction is illogical, and the second just proves this. We are cooking the earth to refrigerate the diminishing part that’s still habitable. That’s crazy and that’s why a.c. is not cool

Here are ten tips to fight the heat.

  1. Cover all your windows with curtains and during the day. Then at night open your windows and use fans or cross-ventilation to circulate cooler air.
  2. Drink plenty of cold, non-carbonated liquids like water or electrolyte-enriched liquids to replace your fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty or are like me have a hard time drinking water, because you dislike it. No alcohol, coffee or tea!!! :( I curse you heat!
  3. Light meals, like salads, fruit, cold soup, cheese and bread! Avoid hot, heavy meals and don’t use the oven.
  4. Lay a cool, moistened towel over your forehead or back of the neck and replace often.
  5. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, natural, breathable, organic when possible, light-colored clothing.
  6. Go hang out in your pool, ocean, lake, rock quarry or for people like me the local public pool!
  7. If you go out in this heat stay in the shade.
  8. Stay in air-conditioned areas such as libraries, bookstores, movie theaters, coffee shops (you can drink water there), pottery classes, theater, lectures, and community centers, etc. Even a few hours can cool your body’s temperature.
  9. Wear a wide-brimmed, vented hat or use an umbrella because your head absorbs the heat, fast and easy.
  10. Limit all that physical activity to morning and evening hours people. Avoid physical activity or exercise between 10AM and 3PM usually the hottest part of the day.

I learned a lot writing this entry. My house which only had 2 curtains up that were never closed, now has five curtains in all the main windows. Two we already had, Marine made two others herself, one we found in an unopened package last week after a neighbor moved out across the hall. We have two more windows that need curtains to be made for and then that’s a wrap.

Keep cool.

-Cara

SOE

Today’s Letter to your Senators is all about the Climate Security Act.

This includes amendments to increase the stringency of global warming pollution reduction targets to 80% by 2050, making polluters pay for all of their pollution permits, and using that money to help consumers and promote clean energy.

It’s about global warming people, and backed by the League of Women Voters and the Environmental Defense Fund.

You just need to sign and send.

-Cara

Today I feel stuck. I am not really inspired by anything and have no idea what to write about. I think I am just in a funky mood. I hate it when I don’t already have an idea of what I want to write. I guess maybe I’ll do a search online and put in ecology or green or I don’t know what…I’ll be back.

OK, I think I figured out what my problem is. I spend a lot of time writing blog entries on what we as humans are doing wrong and what we can and need to do to make the world a better place. I write everyday about it and I just need to lighten it up a bit now and again. I mean even the game this last Sunday was depressing. Today I am just going to go over some interesting and nerdy facts about this amazing planet we live on. I hope you enjoy.

Ten Earth Facts

  • The Earth is about 4.54 Billion years old.
  • Earth’s location in the Solar System is on the outer edge of the Milky Way, about 28,000 light years from the galactic center (Source: European Space Agency). It takes the solar system 225 million years to make one full trip around the Milky Way.

  • Earth’s Sun is a medium sized, yellow star. Scientists call it a G2 star. It is the largest object in the solar system and contains 99.8 percent of the solar system’s mass. It is located in the center of the solar system (and it is super hot!).

Hot Ball

  • It takes Earth 365.2422 days to orbit the sun. This is the basis for the year.
  • Rotational Speed is about 1,070 miles per hour at the equator (That is super fast!).
  • It takes the Earth 23 hours, 56 minutes and four (4) seconds to make one complete 360° rotation (so what happens to those 3 minutes and 56 seconds everyday? How old am I really?).
  • Earth’s Weight (Mass) is 5.972 sextillion (1,000 trillion) metric tons. That’s 5,972,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons! Actually, scientists prefer to refer to this measurement as the Earth’s mass instead of weight since weight is the result of Earth’s gravitational pull on another object. And the Earth cannot pull on itself! As the Earth orbits the Sun, it is weightless. If the Earth were placed on the Sun, it would weigh more than if it were placed on Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system but much smaller than the sun. Yet, Earth (or any other object for that matter) would have the same mass regardless of where it is located. (Earth is a fatty.) :]
  • 70.8% of Earth is covered by water, and 29.2 % is covered by land. (The ocean really is Earth’s final frontier. There is miles of unexplored world underwater, including miles of caves and the like.)
  • The highest point on Earth is 29,028 feet above sea level, Mount Everest, formed 60 million years ago, located on the border of Tibet and Nepal in the Central Himalayas in southeast Asia.
  • The lowest point (on Land) 1,320 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea, located on the border between Israel and the West Bank to the west and Jordan to the east. It is so salty — the saltiest on Earth — that it is unable to support any type of life.

I feel better now. It is information that even if you already know it, maybe you haven’t thought about it lately and how amazing this super fresh planet really is, so let’s take care of her.

Earth is awesome.

-Cara

(Source:ecology.com)


Reason 94 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:

To a great extent, it’s the highenergy starch of corn feed that makes beef cattle grow to slaughter weight so quickly—14 to 16 months today, versus the traditional 4 to 5 years on grass (see #46). In terms of energy concentration, today’s feed has been compared to Snickers bars. As a consequence, feedlot manure is too nitrogen rich to be used as fertilizer. And it is so laced with hormones and other pharmaceuticals that fish downstream downstream can be found with strange sexual characteristics.

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