Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The the Coolest, Greenest 4D Building in Dubai

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Snow in Saudi Arabia - Global Warming, or Global Cooling? PART 1

This is one article from my blog. To see more articles on my full blog click here! For PART 2 and other related articles click here!

It has been a while since I’ve read an article that really surprised me with the amount of ignorance that spews out of some people. Newsbusters just published an article supposedly exposing the bias of climate change alarmists by not reporting on the “global cooling” that’s happening in Saudi Arabia. The recent snow fall and sub zero temperatures have disrupted the countries functioning in affected parts, and caused the death of two people. Besides the absurdity of the idea that “global” change of any sort is limited to a particular locale, in this case Saudi Arabia, these “liberal investigator” are absolutely ignorant of the way climate change works. This doesn’t really matter to them since the average person doesn’t know who climate change works either. So they don’t really need to understand anything beyond their own view point in order to propagate their anti-liberal slurs. (For the record I’m neither conservative nor liberal). That being said, the one thing that the “reporters” at Newsbusters were right about was that there was no reporting of the anomalies in Saudi Arabia’s weather by the North American News Media until a few days after. This is not to say that the “liberal media” is trying to hide the facts, but simply that the media in general is not a perfect entity in reporting on the happenings of the world. Before we start, I think we can safely establish that snow in Saudi Arabia doesn’t mean the entire world is going to freeze. No where in the hypothesis of climate change or global warming, or any science for that matter, do we rely on a single point of data for testing the truth of a phenomenon. To explain a bit about how Global Change happens we need to lay down some principals on how our world works. First of all, The source of the energy on Earth is oil, right? Wrong, the source of the Earth's energy is the Sun. The Sun's heat reaches the Earth driving the basic mechanism of converting this energy into organic life in plants, all the way to driving the movement of the ocean current and the atmospheric currents. Now, when the energy from the Sun reaches the Earth a large portion is reflected back to outer space and a portion is absorbed by the atmosphere. The Heat that does reach the Earth's surface is absorbed during the day and is re-emitted into the atmosphere over night (and is why it is cooler at night). As you may know the gases that make up the atmosphere are responsible for retaining some of this heat so that the ambient temperatures are tolerable for life (otherwise it would be too cold to live on Earth, like Mars). videoCredit: NASA Secondly, the atmosphere is contiguous. That means that all geographic parts of the atmosphere are connected and are dynamic in their interactions with each other. In other words it’s all one bunch of air that moves around depending on the over all climate, and the weather at the time. It’s important to clarify that climate and weather are too different things. Climate is the average temperature and precipitation of a particular part of the world all year round for many years. While weather, on the other hand is a short snap shot of the temperature that occurs in a day or a few days, in a small area of the globe. So when we talk about global warming, we are referring to the global climate, since you can’t have a one uniform weather condition all around the world for an extended period of many years (at least not yet). What you can observe is a global climate; an average of temperature and precipitation over a long period of time all around the world. This is what we refer to when we talk about climate. Thirdly, there are dynamic mechanisms in the oceans that play an important role in maintaining the global climate. These mechanisms can be offset using the right magnitude of change. What is known as the Oceanic Conveyor Belt, is driven by salinity changes in the oceans' waters, as well as temperature gradients. These current distribute heat to different parts of the world. videoCredit: NASA To be continued...(coming next how climate change works, and how snow in Saudi Arabia can be reason for concern)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Environmentally Elegent Tech - A Greener Apple

This is one article from my blog. To see this and other articles please click here! The new MacBook Air has a few environmental tricks up it's very slim sleeve. I know I haven't spoken, on this blog, about tech from an environmental point of view. But it should be know that I am a gizmofreak. Steve Jobs Keynote at macWorld 2008 just ended with some awesome news for environmentally minded technofreaks. To begin you need to know a bit of background about the hazards of technology. No, I don't mean the dangers of using your cellphone while driving. I'm talking about the environmental hazards that are associated with the components of the various electronic equipment and gadgets that we use on a daily basis. Besides the space that all these gadgets (and their packaging) take up in landfills and garbage dumps, there are a plethora of chemical hazards to be concerned about. For instance, some materials that go into the making of electronics, and pose a major environmental hazardous are as follows: Arsenic, Beryllium, Cadmium, Copper, Lead, Mercury, Nickel, Zinc, PCVs and PCBs. Some may argue that these materials are extracted from the environment in the first place, so why are they hazardous when we dump it back in? It has to do with the form in which they are present. Most of these chemicals are trapped in rocks and in a different chemical form that is not harmful to the environment or human health. Once we extract these chemicals and process them they become highly toxic to wildlife and humans. Once our 20inch CRT monitors, and our once latest-cellphone-on-the-market are no longer our favorite possession, and are condemned to the junk pile these chemicals begin to leach out of the electronics. Everything from the plastic casing and glass, to the circuit boards contain these chemicals. Some leach at a higher rate than others, but the end result is the same. These chemicals are leached into soils, water reservoirs; taken up by wildlife, plants; biomagnified through the food web, and then bioaccumulated into our diets. It's not a pretty sight. But it's not all gloom and doom just yet. We can still do things about it. There are a number of e-waste recycling programs where they will reuse certain components of your discarded electronics and safely dispose of other parts. The other option is to opt for an environmentally sound piece of beautiful engineering in the hottest outfit in town. Here I'll let you know about some of the outstanding features of the MacBook Air. A totally wireless laptop in Mac's line of outstanding laptops. By totally wireless, I mean totally wireless including the use of optical drive through remote drive. It also boasts, and I mean boasts in every sense of the word, to be the thinnest laptop ever made. Compared to the previous title holder the Sony TZ series, which is between 0.8 inches at the front to 1.2 inches at the hinge. The MacBook Air, current title holder, measures in at a phenomenal 0.16 inches to 0.76 inches The thickest point being thinner than the thinnest point of the competition. Here's where this Apple turns its greenest. The aluminum casing is fully recyclable. This is great because the aluminum we get comes from tropical soils, and is becoming scarce. It is also "the first" to use a mercury-free LCD display with arsenic free-glass. The circuit boards are BFR- and PVC-free. To top it off, and intuitively so, the packaging uses 56% less materials than their sister macbook products. Now that's a piece of hardware I'd gladly carry around with a happy environmental conscience. But a sore pocket at $1,799US. Check out the MacWorld website for more details about the MacBook Air. Keep the peace, Photos are form http://live.gizmodo.com/