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

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The law requiring daylight saving--switching the clocks ("Fall Back" and "Spring Forward") is archaic and needs to be repealed.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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January 26, 2016

Plastic Pigs

So you've probably heard about this mammoth island of plastic garbage in the Pacific Ocean.

It's between the West Coast and Hawaii. 

And it's called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. 

Get this...

It's about twice the size of Texas.

Now researchers are predicting that by 2050, our oceans will hold more plastic than fish!

"More than 8 million tons of plastics end up entering our oceans each year." 

And we're dumping the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.  

Just 5% of plastic waste gets recycled. 

So far there is a 165 million tons of plastic trash in the ocean right now. 

The plastic pieces can survive hundreds of years. 

We are making a darn mess of this planet. 

The 5 cent surcharge for plastic bags is a joke in this respect. 

Maybe ISIS actually won't be the end of Western civilization, but plastic will be. 

Who's paying off whom to keep this plastic money wagon going to poison our planet?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 10, 2015

The Unsustainable U.S. Economy

The U.S. National Debt often touted at an enormous $18 trillion is really more than 3 times that amount and closer to a whopping $65 trillion!

That's when you actually count all the unfunded liabilities for civilian and military pensions, retiree healthcare, social security, and medicare.

For each of the 318.9 million people of that United States, it mean $203,826 of debt or for a family of four that's a debt of $815,303.

Put another way, the entire net worth of Americans is $84.9 trillion, but after subtracting the debt of $65 trillion, it drops to just about $20 trillion--coincidentally around the amount of our new debt ceiling.

Moreover, with the richest 1% owning more than 50% of the wealth by 2016 that leave only $10 trillion or $31,675 for each of us--not so hoity toity for 239 years of independence and founding as a nation or all the blood, sweat, and tears we put in every day of our lives.

In terms of our escalating debt, just this last year alone, social security spending went up to $944,143,000,000 or the equivalent of $6,345 for every American with a job. and this is projected to dramatically rise with the retirements of the baby boomers.

Projections are for social security to exhaust its funds by 2035, which could result in across the board 20% or more cuts in benefits of the already meager program where many seniors end up eating cat food.

Additionally, the retirement age already set to go to 67 by 2027 could be forced to go even higher, and social security would likely be curtailed or eliminated entirely above certain income levels.

Is this the financial security and brighter future we are leaving our children and grandchildren?

We can kick the can down the road, but the unsustainability of it all will eventually come back to haunt us. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Pictures of Money)
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October 5, 2015

A Ricksha With A Worthwhile Message

This guy is pedaling this ricksha around town in Maryland, USA. 

And it carries messages of hope and peace. 

Some examples (visible in the photo):

- "Promote the Olympic spirit."

- "Hope for world peace."

- "Protecting mother earth."

It looks like he could be right off the streets of China or something and transported here to deliver and remind us of these important ideas. 

What is interesting to me is that in this day and age of social media and online advertising where messages are often drowned out amidst the daily deluge we get, that here a simple ricksha can grab people's attention and perhaps have a positive influence on them.

With just some subtle messaging along the vehicle's canopy and with pictures and flags around the back.

Perhaps it's not only how much one advertises and promotes, but how thought-provoking and novel it's done. 

I don't know how many miles this guy can pedal a day, but I bet he gets more likes than much of the garbage just being throw up online because it's so easy and available for everyone to do. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 27, 2015

Beautiful Brookside Gardens













Today, we visited Brookside Gardens in Maryland.

My daughter needed to do some drawing for her art class.

We took the opportunity to enjoy the unbelievable beautiful nature there. 

If only the whole Earth was allowed to exist in such pristine form. 

No overcrowding, overdevelopment, and polluting of the planet. 

Just respect for Mother Earth and the bounty and miracles we are allowed to enjoy. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 17, 2015

Keys to The Kingdom

Ah, so good to be given the keys to the kingdom. 

Even if only for a day. 

What to do:

- 1st key - Heal the sick, feed the hungry, raise the downtrodden.

- 2nd key - World peace, for sure. 

- 3rd key - Revitalize our ailing planet and make it sustainable.

- 4th key - Unleash innovation and give everyone a decent living wage to care for themselves and their families. 

- 5th key (the Capstone) - Bring the Messiah and everyone behaves righteously and worships the one true G-d of all.

Uh, and I need one more key to balance the budget and pay off the National Debt. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 10, 2015

Just Frogs



What's with the frog infatuation--especially associated with ice cream and frozen yogurt (SweetFrog, Frogg's Ice Cream, Frosty Frog, etc.)?

According to Save The Frogs, some interesting facts:

- There are over 6,300 species of frogs and toads (a close, warty relative of the frog). 

- They range from just 9 mm to over 30 mm and 6.6 lbs, and can live from a few years to as many as 30-years (ol' frog river uncaring with the flow of the Mississippi). 

- Frogs are amphibians developing in their larval state in water as herbivores, but as adults living on land as carnivores (flies anyone).

- Toads tend to have poisonous secretions as does the Poison Dart Frog (maybe the princess should not be kissing that frog).

- Australian Stony Creek Frogs build nests for their eggs just like birds (got to protect those youngins). 

- Wood frogs adapt to the freezing cold by stopping their breathing, blood flow, and heartbeat (now that's extreme hibernation).

- Similarly, Burrowing Frogs survive hot, dry climates by slowing their metabolism and shedding their skin into a protective mosture-retaining cocoon, and others can live underground for as many as 10 months and surface in mass when the rains come (like the 2nd plague in Egypt).

- Pesticides, fertilizers, and parasites have been increasing deformities in frogs such as missing limbs or having 6 legs (making jumping on 3 legs a bitch and jumping on 6 an unfair advantage). 

Frogs are a great illustration of how to "adopt or die" with the emphasis on living and thriving forward--not so sure though about frog-flavored ice cream. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 6, 2015

Beautiful Labor Day Weekend


Ok, here's my video today from The Shenandoah River along the Appalachian Trail at Harpers Ferry. 

Only I make one little mistake...see if you can pick up on it (everyone can make an oops once in a while--you just got to have a good laugh.)

Also, did you know there are 3 trillion trees in the world?

Sad though that number is almost half from the beginning of civilization and these days we are losing about 15 billion trees a year--that's crazy!

Anyway, I still love nature and G-d's beautiful creation and I give thanks to my maker. ;-)

(Source Video: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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