Posts tagged environment

How do some kids go to school? Remarkable and humbling story of human endurance and the will to get an education

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If you live in the Zanskar valley, India it is a 5 day walk along one of the highest rivers, through some of the highest mountains, some of the coldest places on Earth.

 

Just saw this heart-stopping trip in ‘Human Planet’ on TV.


Human Planet- Zanskar River by BBCfanable

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xhzfi8_human-planet-zanskar-river_shortfilms

 

This is the first someone has successfully filmed the journey that families have to undertake every year.

More here:

http://www.humanplanetblog.com/?p=1080

This one is a must read !

http://timothyallen.blogs.bbcearth.com/2010/02/26/the-school-run/

Going to school in Ladakh, India

Going to school in Ladakh, India

On a side note I learned that ice sheets on frozen rivers / lakes is called ‘chaddar’ in Zanskari. In Hindi ‘chaddar’ means ‘sheet’ more like bedspread never knew that it also means ice sheet

Earth Day & Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot

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This gives me goosebumps every time I watch it…. Happy Earth Day !

 

If neurons talk using RFID…are we zapping our brains with our phone yapping?? !!

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I stumbled across this article today about how neurons in brains do not rely just on physical connections to talk to each other. They interact with each other with their version of electro-magnetic coupling similar to Near Field Communication (NFC)or RFID.

NFC or RFID type technologies can be prone to interference from various gadgets or devices. This new discovery about neural communication may bring into focus how electronic devices affect our brains and cognitive abilities. Is it time to think about how our society designs and uses the billions of cell phones ?

Here is the article from Caltech:

Neurobiologists Find that Weak Electrical Fields in the Brain Help Neurons Fire Together – Caltech Media Relations.

The Story of Electronics

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The Story of Electronics employs the Story of Stuff style to explore the high-tech revolution’s collateral damage—25 million tons of e-waste and counting, poisoned workers and a public left holding the bill. Host Annie Leonard takes viewers from the mines and factories where our gadgets begin to the horrific backyard recycling shops in China where many end up. The film concludes with a call for a green “race to the top” where designers compete to make long-lasting, toxic-free products that are fully and easily recyclable

t r u t h o u t | The Story of Electronics Video

Leave it as it is…

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Leave it as it is. You cannot improve it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it….

President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt commenting on seeing the Grand Canyon

Read more about the US National Parks and President Teddy Roosevelt at http://www.nps.gov and  http://blogs.nashualibrary.org/reference/2009/09/leave_it_as_it_is_1.html

Rainforests may pump winds worldwide

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The NewScientist has an article titled Rainforests may pump winds worldwide, which may shake up the climate and environmental skeptics. It seems large forests are the heart, lungs and kidneys of our living planet. Large forests may be responsible for pumping moisture laden air across continents helping rainfall far inland…

Cool factoid of the day from the article: “More moisture typically evaporates from rainforests than from the ocean. The Amazon rainforest, for example, releases 20 trillion litres of moisture every day.

How can forests create wind? Water vapour from coastal forests and oceans quickly condenses to form droplets and clouds. The Russians point out that the gas takes up less space as it turns to liquid, lowering local air pressure. Because evaporation is stronger over the forest than over the ocean, the pressure is lower over coastal forests, which suck in moist air from the ocean. This generates wind that drives moisture further inland. The process repeats itself as the moisture is recycled in stages, moving towards the continent’s heart (see diagram). As a result, giant winds transport moisture thousands of kilometres into the interior of a continent.

Forward Osmosis- revoluntionary water treatment?

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Cleantechnica has a post on Forward Osmosis. It is better explained here. The authors description in a gist:

…conventional desalination and reuse technologies use substantial energy. “forward osmosis,” exploits the natural diffusion of water through a semi-permeable membrane. Their process “draws” pure water from its contaminants to a solution of concentrated salts, which can easily be removed with low heat treatment — effectively desalinating or removing contaminants from water with little energy input.

The concentrated salt solution is probably a mixture of ammonia and/or carbon dioxide dissolved in water. The ammonia and CO2 are later easily boiled off and reused. The energy required for this quite less even low-cost solar heaters may be sufficient.

TED on climate change

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TED has hosted a number of excellent speakers on the topic of climate change. However, I found 2 interesting almost opposite approaches to solving the issue.

In this talk, energy guru Amory Lovins lays out his plan for weaning the US off oil and revitalizing the economy in the process. It’s the subject of his book Winning the Oil Endgame, and he makes it sound fairly simple: On one hand, the deadly risks of continued dependency, and on the other, some win-win solutions.

Environmental scientist David Keith talks about a cheap, effective, shocking solution to climate change: What if we injected a huge cloud of ash into the atmosphere, to deflect sunlight and heat? As an emergency measure to slow a melting ice cap, it could work. Keith discusses why it’s a good idea, why it’s a terrible one — and who, despite the cost, might be tempted to use it.

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