Showing posts with label Sustainability. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sustainability. Show all posts

September 9, 2020

Duracell Vs Energizer Showdown

This display in Home Depot was like the Duracell vs. Energizer dual to the death for batteries. 

Which one wins?

The whisper is that Duracell beats Energizer close to 2 to 1 for most things. 

Whether or not that's true, the Energizer rabbit "keeps going and going" while the Duracell is copper-topped.

Copper? Bunny? Bunny is cuter!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 12, 2020

IMHO Warning: Stock Market MAJOR Correction Imminent

I went to the mall today.

This is a few weeks into reopening phase 2!

I expected people would have pent up demand and be swarming the stores even while keeping their social distance.

They weren't at the mall! 

The stores were nearly void of people.

The shelves were virtually empty of goods.

Whatever merchandise there was seemed to marked "sale, sale, sale" even on the already deeply-discounted clearance items.

It was completely frightening--like the economy is dead or on severe life support!

Most stores had 3 or more associates standing around or sitting twiddling their thumbs.

This while the stock market keeps ticking up and the NASDAQ is reaching new highs almost daily.

Coronavirus is surging again across much of the U.S. and there is almost 140,000 dead in the U.S. after just 5 months even though much of the population was in self-quarantine.

The economy looks to me in sh*t shape, despite the U.S. pumping $3 trillion dollars more of debt to artificially prop up the economy and the fed lending out money at super low rates.

It makes NO sense for the market to be hitting all time highs as if everything is all roses when the economy is still a true mess!

The New Yorker magazine wrote back in May of a post coronavirus "decade of depression" with an L shaped recovery, yet we keep seeing a V-shaped one and no one seems to be able to offer any plausible explanation for it.

Two-months ago, even before the recent stock run-up to higher levels, Business Insider reported that "the Stock Market is trading at its highest valuation in 18-years."

Last month, Forbes reported that "the stock market appears to be reaching unsustainable highs."

Yesterday again, Bloomberg reported that the "economic recovery is faltering."

Almost daily, I read that companies are laying off their workers (in Travel, Transportation, Entertainment, Retail, Energy, etc.) or declaring bankruptcy (e.g. Hertz, JC Penny, Neiman Marcus, Chesapeake Energy, and more).

This while we are still, in the best case scenario, maybe half a year away from the possibility of a tested, approved vaccine. And then it will still need to be mass produced and mass distributed to hundreds of millions of people in this country and billions globally.

In the meantime, we certainly could be up for a second wave of Coronavirus on top of the flu in the fall/winter. And then the Coronavirus may mutate and become more virulent requiring annual vaccines like the flu shot--more hit or miss.

All this while U.S.-China trade war is imperiling our economy further, and arch-enemies Iran and North Korea remain national security threats.

To me this all points to that we are nowhere near out of the woods and perhaps that there is a wildfire raging and no one seems to be paying any attention!

The stock market euphoria is a common trap and is the definition of "irrational exuberance" but comes after investors have been robotically indoctrinated to buy the dips!

IMHO, buyer beware, beware, beware. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 6, 2020

Build Others Up

I saw this in one of the student lounges at the local JCC.

It says:
"Don't Cut Down Others"

It's far better to build people up then to tear them down. 

Jut like with trees, it's better to plant a trillion trees than deforest the Amazon Rainforest. 

Trees are life and people are life. 

Be constructive and not destructive. 

Offer a nice word or compliment; provide an attentive and empathetic ear; give direction with some advice or guidance; lend a hand to someone in need; and in general, be a good influence. 

Unfortunately, too many people default to cutting down the old cherry tree! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 24, 2020

NJ Pollution--How Do You Ignore It?

This is the view along the New Jersey Turnpike. 

The pollution and stink coming out of these smokestacks running up and down the Turnpike is enough to make anyone sick. 

Personally, I had to cover my nose and mouth with my shirt just to try and filter this crap out. 

What do people tell themselves that live near these?
Oh, it's okay because the government regulators wouldn't let them be here otherwise!

For real???

If you can see it's nasty, and you can smell that it's nasty, and there is a lot of it, then you better wake up as to what you are breathing, drinking, and eating. 

How about these polluters put a cork in it once and for all! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 16, 2020

Sucking It Up

Here we are sucking up leaves in January. 

It almost looks like we're sucking up the whole ground with it!

After the warmest decade on record, we seem to be having the warmest year on record. 

It's 52 degrees out, and we've been reaching up into the high 60's so far this month.

Global warming or the big fires in Australia or action with Iran are heating things up here in Washington, D.C. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 25, 2019

Nature Boy

When I was a kid and I went to the supermarket with my mom, I remember always seeing the "Andy Boy Broccoli" in the produce aisle. 

Of course, I was always curious why Broccoli was called Andy Boy--what boy or any kid for that matter likes to eat broccoli???

And like most things in life, there really wasn't a good answer except that this company, "Andy Boy" grows and distributes it. 

Anyway, I was always a nature boy feeling most at home and at peace in the countryside. 

I love being in nature, surrounded by G-d's amazing beauty, and at one with the universe and with G-d.  

In building all our great cities, buildings, and structures, aside from the crowding, pollution, crime and traffic that we have consequently, we have also lost something elementary to our lives with the absence of real nature. 

A park is not a forest.  A pond is not a river.  A plant is a not a lush valley.  A garden is not a farm.  A hill is not a mountain range.  A pet is not a teeming ecosystem of diverse life.  

The city is man made and fake, but nature is from G-d and real. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 18, 2019

Beautiful Solar Power

Thought this was a beautiful rendition of solar power. 

You can have energy. 

And you can have art. 

Here you can have both. 

It's functional to harness the sun's energy and it's designed to look sleek and fit the landscape. 

Nice job by Florida Power and Light (FPL)!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 6, 2019

Oh Baby, It's Warm Outside?

I love when people can communicate through pictures effectively. 

Truly, a picture is worth a thousand words--probably more. 

This was a simple drawing to depict I assume global warming. 

- 2000 some nice mountain glaciers.

- 2020 the snow is melted.

It's like the person didn't have to say a word. 

But I get it. 

Also, I know there is supposedly a lot of scientific evidence for global warming.

But for me personally, I don't see it or feel it.  

The summers, if anything, feel cooler and the Winters feel colder to me. 

I know that is anecdotal and not representative of the world. 

However, it is hard to reconcile what the scientists say, when your own eyes aren't seeing it. 

Granted, I'm not in Alaska where, for example, the glaciers are melting, 

Still wouldn't we be feeling something here?

Maybe a few degrees really isn't perceptible. 

I guess time will tell us for certain. 

Hopefully, by the time we do see it, we won't get run over by the speeding train.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 12, 2019

Daylight Saving Time S*cks

Daylight saving time makes NO sense. 

It does NOT save us a lot of energy as designed. 

Call it the wrong assumptions or bad science.

The law requiring daylight saving--switching the clocks ("Fall Back" and "Spring Forward") is archaic and needs to be repealed. 

We're messing with people's sleep cycles and their health. 

People waking up groggy all over the country, feeling crappy during the day, and losing much needed productivity.  

How about we repeal this stupid law NOW and not waste any more time on the squabbling politics of the day?  

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 19, 2018

Net-Zero Energy House

Today, I had a wonderful opportunity to explore the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Net-Zero Energy House.

As its name implies the residential home makes as much energy as it uses. 

It is run by one of NIST's 7 laboratories, the Engineering Lab's Energy and Environment Division.

The 2,700 square foot home is super-insulated and hyper-energy efficient.

It runs on only 12,000-13,000 Kilowatt per year compared to a typical home that guzzles 40,000 KW. 

You can see the array of solar panels on the roof and there is a two-way exchange of energy to/from the grid as available/needed. 

There is also solar thermal water heater. 


The home simulates a family of 4 living there cooking, bathing, watching TV, etc. 

There are 600 sensors inside the house that monitor everything. 

The garage maintains the computers and controls for the research. 

Overall, I was very proud to see the wonderful scientific research being done here. 

It was truly impressive and good for the nation and the planet.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 27, 2017

Technology Forecast 2018



Here are Andy Blumenthal's technology forecast and priorities for 2018.

1. Medical Computing - Continue the significant progress and solve the great illnesses of Cancer, Parkinson's, ALS, Alzheimers, and so many other horrible and debilitating diseases. Along with longevity, we need to alleviate human suffering and create a higher quality of living for all people.

2. Environmental Computing - Develop more and better clean technologies that can eliminate the Great Plastic Garbage Patch and other heart-breaking garbage dumps and environmental disasters around the world--clean up, breakdown, recycle, and create a more sustainable and beautiful planet for everyone to enjoy.

3. Quantum Computing - Achieve the ultimate processing power and speed of quantum computing to enable us to solve the greatest of mankind's problems including WMD, and cyber security threats as well as the overcome the transportation and colonization challenges to reach, explore, and settle the depths of outer space.
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November 18, 2017

Invasion of Dinosaurs



So what's with the invasion of dinosaurs. 

First one is standing next to the checkout line in Whole Foods in Maryland.

Second one is actually on someone's terrace overlooking the beach in Fort Lauderdale.

Third one is the real McCoy from the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. 

Certainly, dinosaurs aren't cute and cuddly--even the plush ones from Whole Foods--they'd eat you and I for dinner if they could!

So why do we gravitate to relics from the Ice Age past?

Perhaps, just like looking forward to Aliens from outer space, the dinosaurs represent an important historical link for us, and thus anchor us in a much larger perspective of time and space. 

In a way, it all points to the dichotomy between us as humans with great--almost endless--potential, and yet at the same time, how small we are relative to the enormous dinosaurs that roamed the earth of yesteryear as well as the distinct possibility of mighty extraterrestrials that we may someday (soon) encounter from outer space. 

From this context, I guess what's really amazing is that we, as a people, are still here!

Despite our bad habits and unsustainable living, we continue to innovate our way out of own messes of greed, conflict, contagion, pollution, and resource depletion, and create a future far beyond what destroyed our predecessors or even what may come from current or potential future foes. 

Like the economy, we think we can grow ourselves out of all our troubles--and who knows, maybe we can if we can continue to stay at least one or two steps ahead of all the challenges and threats--but, at the back (or front) of our minds is what if we can't or don't?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 14, 2017

We Broke The Weather

So my friend who lives in FL and recently experienced the crazy hurricanes down there said something very interesting to me. 

This was during the series of numerous recent hurricanes in just a few weeks period of time, including Harvey, IRMA, and Maria that devastated Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

He said to me:
"We broke the weather!"

And after decades of warning about the impact of global warming--maybe he is right.

This last September was the most active month for Atlantic hurricanes ever on record. 

Further, we are seeing simultaneously the deadliest wildfires raging in California in its history. 

This only 13 years after the deadliest Tsunami from the Indian Ocean in recorded times killing about a quarter million people!

And only 28 years after the deadliest Tornado occurred in Bangladesh in 1989 that killed 1,300 people.

All these as if the increasing threats of nukes and other weapons of mass destruction and cyberattack weren't enough to keep you up at night.

As we get more sophisticated and technologically dependent, incredible manmade and natural disasters are threatening us superbig time. 

And over and over again, it is being reported that a well-placed EMP explosion over the United States would kill 90% of the population within a year--talk about a extinction level event!

As we experience temperatures15 degree above normal this fall, even the trees are behaving abnormally as the leaves are not changing to colors of yellows and oranges and reds and purples that we expect and enjoy. 

Nature is messed up by our abuse of the planet and nurture is messed up by megalomaniacs with the weapons to do us in. 

If we don't correct the dangerous path we are on polluting our planet and over-relying on technology then soon we could be turning horrible colors even if the leaves just fall to the ground or turn to ash. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 16, 2017

Rain Spill On Building

Just thought this was a really interesting photo. 

The way the rain splattered down the side of this building.

The water hitting only on top and then trickling down the side like a big spill. 

"The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain," but in Washington, D.C., it falls down the side of the buildings in these weird artistic patterns.

When I was a kid, I remember when it rained, my father would tell me positively and jokingly, "Ah, we're getting a free car wash today!"

Isn't it amazing how G-d made the world where it rains, and provides us not only the water to drink and sustain ourselves, but literally a shower to clean our cities and wash away the dirty excesses. 

The ecosystem is just an amazing array of literally everything we need and with checks and balances to keep the goings-on of the world suitable for His children. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 30, 2017

Future Home For Mankind



Thought these artist renderings of the Trappist-1 Star were awesome. 

NASA discovered this star and 7 Earth-size planets around it that could conceivably have water and sustain human life. 

As we continue to gobble up Earth's resources and build incredibly powerful weapons that may one day soon destroy it, we need to have a viable Plan B.

Hence, the race to find another planet(s) with resources and environmental conditions where human civilization can survive and thrive.

I'm not sure what is more exciting than finding that magic planetary home of the future, where everything is new and pristine again like the Garden of Eden.

A place to go where hopefully we take not only the bits and bytes of our current world, but also the lessons learned to do it better again. ;-)

(Source Photo: NASA JPL here and here)
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December 26, 2016

Special Blue Bird

Just wanted to share a photo I took of this beautiful blue bird that I came across in Florida. 

This bird was something special. 

I couldn't help admiring his amazingly blue feathers punctuated by the yellow around his smart eyes 

He wasn't the only beautiful animal or flower that we saw there, there were many.

They all just left me in wonderment at the unbelievable beauty that G-d created for us in this world.

No one is going to tell me this is all random by evolution, and that there is not a profoundly wise and all-knowing Maker behind it.

Perhaps, we never really left the physical Garden of Eden, but being expelled from there meant more of a mentality where we have to work and fight hard to keep it all pristine.

Mankind's inclination is to take and use abundantly almost without thought as to the sustainability of his actions.

- Cities expand and encroach on natural rural areas. 

- G-d's beautiful creatures are in retreat and often in danger of extinction. 

- Resources are used willy nilly as we dig and dig, chop and chop, and burn and burn. 

- Garbage is expelled and piles up virtually anywhere and everywhere.

- Pollution fills the land, air, and waterways.

Eden is still here, but people must act more like angels and less like snakes if G-d gracious gifts to us are to survive. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 9, 2016

Reconstituting The Water Of Antarctica

So Antarctica is the 5th largest continent of 7 in the world. 

It is 5.4 million square miles, and it is larger than both Europe and Australia. 

But it has only a temporary population of 5,000 people, mainly researchers. 

About 70% of the world's fresh water is held in the Antarctic ice sheet, which is 90% of all the world's ice. 

And the ice there extends 7,000 feet thick.

If all the ice would melt, the global sea levels would rise 2,000 feet!

Despite 95% of models over the last 30 years predicting the ice sheet melting due to global warming, it actually continues to expand.

It's a paradox for the science community, but one of the explanations is that as ice shelves break off, they actually forms a protective barrier for the new ice being formed along the main ice landmass. 

Even with global warming, the average temperature in Antarctica is still -35 degrees Fahrenheit, and most parts never get above freezing. 

So here's an idea--rather than fear global warming, is there an opportunity to use it and advance it, if only we can channel the effects of it for the good of humanity. 

The Antarctic Treaty System prevents nuclear weapons explosion there, but wouldn't that be a cool way to melt some ice and get some fresh drinking water for this thirsty planet or even to somehow move to MARS for colonization there?

Also, we could place solar mirrors in space to redirect sunlight to melt the ice--that's either some probably some pretty big mirrors or the dispersion ray of a space laser(s). 

The key now is to get the water to where you want it to go and not to destroy by massive flood our worldwide seaboard cities--and that's where a mass molecular transporter comes along. 

There is still much to discover and invent, but when it's done, I think we will definitely be heading to Mars and beyond.

Really, we have to, there is no other long-term survival choice for humankind. 

And perhaps, G-d placed the survival pod for us right under our feet at literally, the southern most point of the world, Antarctica! ;-)

(Source Photo: here via Wikipedia)
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November 20, 2016

Tiny House Capsule


We enjoy watching Tiny House Hunters on HGTV, but this is even better!

The Ecocapsule is an awesome 88-feet of pod living

Haul it on a simple 4-wheel trailer and plunk it down. 

It has a solar roof and wind turbine that powers up its battery for up to 4 days.

Plus a rainwater filtration system feeds your faucets, toilet, and shower. 

There is a bed for 2 as well as a cooktop, work desk, and modest storage space. 

It's minimalist living at it sleekest and best. 

Only $86K from Slovakia and you're off the grid and living free.

Can't you just see these while eggshells dotting the landscape?

When everything in the world goes to hell, these little pods could be providing sustainable living to survivors. 

All we need is some cool defense gadgets and this could work! ;-)
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May 12, 2016

From Top To Bottom


The the other day, I was walking through the grass.

I came across these toys horses that had been left in a pile.

I thought about the innocence and beauty of children.

How nice it is to just sit in the green grass and play with your horsies. 

Today, I was downtown and GWU has a big graduation going on.

This guy wrote on the bottom of his cap, "If youre reading this, I just graduated."

Of course, this is America, and so he left off the apostrophe (') in you're (you are).

Oh well--neither STEM nor spelling is apparently part of the education curriculum anymore. 

But how quickly the kids grow up and before we know they're college graduates. 

From childhood innocence and dependence to adulthood independence and its colorful assortment of sin. 

All grown up and what we hope happens next...

...off to start a big career, continue with graduate studies, marriage and kids of their own...the sky is the limit. 

We need smart and enthusiastic people coming of age with big ideas, teamwork, and precision execution to solve the ginormous problems we face.

Still huge debts, hunger and poverty, dreaded old to frighteningly new illnesses, a unsustainable use of our planet with tongue in cheek efforts to change, rising social inequity and racial tensions, and raging terrorism and WMD that is making a global and more deadly comeback.

I have no grads this year, but we sure as hell need every person coming off the assembly line to step up and make a difference. 

Right now, the leadership in the world (commercial, spiritual, and government) is overwhelmingly deadwood (people lacking in caliber and  integrity like Steve Jobs, the Lubavicher Rebbe, Nelson Mandela, and Ronald Reagan).

From failing products and falling profits, to "religious" sex abuse, demagogues overseas, and plenty of lying and corruption at home. We need and should expect more, demand more, perhaps in the young people there will be more--that is our hope and saving grace. 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 5, 2016

Even Our Water

So I was in a meeting yesterday. 

And someone had a bottle of what looked like very dirty water. 

I said to the guy sad-jokingly, "Where's that from--Flint, Michigan?"

He sadly smiles back and says, "No, I just filled the bottle with iced tea!"

But everyone around the table sighed at the tragic state of affairs with the filthy, contaminated water in Flint. 

The high levels of lead in the water has allegedly resulted in "skin lessons, hair loss, high levels of lead in the blood, vision loss, memory loss, depression and anxiety."

It's unbelievable that in an American city with a population around 100,000 that they cannot safely shower or drink their water. 

To make things even worse, now banks are hunkering down and don't want to give mortgages to people in Flint until they can prove that their water is safe

What's amazing is that this miserable situation in our cities is not the exception, but the rule. 

As of 2003 already, The American Society for Civil Engineering gives us a hideous grade of D on our infrastructure that is aged and in disrepair.

This includes our:
- Energy
- Transportation
- Ports
- Aviation
- Levees
- Dams
- Schools
- Roads
- Inland Waterways
- Wastewater
- Hazardous Waste
- Parks and Recreation
- Rail
- Bridges
- Solid Waste
- Drinking Water

They estimate we need at least $3.6 trillion of investment for infrastructure renewal just by 2020. 

Interestingly enough, the useless decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan costs us over $4 trillion and the lives of almost 14,000 American military and contractor personnel.

What would you rather have a destabilized Middle East now swarming with ISIS, the Taliban, and a resurgent $100 billion richer and nuclear- and terror-determined Iran or a proper country here for us to live in with an actual strategy-driven national security and good schools and clean drinking water? 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to B1ue5sky)
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