26 May 2008

Greek forest fires in 2007

In 2007, about 10% of the Greek Woods were burnt, and 87 people died. The three beautiful woods around Athens were destroyed. Even though arson and negligence were involved, the role of environmental factors is undisputed. 

The satelite images say it all.

5 May 2008

Efficient characters

I am comparing the two books on the right: the red Penguin book was printed in 1946 in the US, while the white Hutchinson book was printed in 2006 in the UK. What interests me is not their contents, but their relative efficiency. 

The former looks so much smaller than the latter: fewer resources required to produce it, to transport it, to store it. Is that so?

I estimated that the former contains around 361760 characters, while the latter contains around 661850 characters. The former weighs 100 gr., while the latter weighs 548 gr. Therefore, the red book is three times more character efficient in terms of weight.

The red book's  dimensions are 11 cm x 18 cm x 0,8 cm, while the white book's are 15 cm x 25 cm x 3 cm. Therefore, the red book is 4 times more character efficient in terms of volume.

I think it is time publishers started producing again  books like the red one.    

Reappraising who we are and what progress means

The real issues ... are not technical or economic. The crisis we face demands a profound  philosophical discussion, a reappraisal of who we are and what progress means.

The above is a quote taken from an article written by Monbiot. I think it encapsulates exactly the big challenge we are currently facing. We cannot hope to solve our problems through technology. We cannot hope to have our cake and eat it: no matter what clever tricks we come up with, trips destroy our environment, manufacturing destroys our environment, exotic foods destroy our environment,  temperature control destroys our environment.

We can only hope to survive, if we can  find  less pleasure in consumption.

By no means am I anywhere near having reached that stage; on the contrary, through my work and my personal circumstances, I travel a lot.  One more reason why I am desperately hoping for an  urgent reappraisal.

4 May 2008

Pelicans in Kerkini (Greek lake)

Shop doors - prospective London mayors agree, but powerless

I wrote my concern about the unnecessary damage of open shop doors to the three main candidates for London Mayor. Brian Paddick answered first (by email) saying that he agreed, but such legislation was not in the Mayor's power. Then answered Ken Livingstone's office, saying also that such legislation was not in the Mayor's power. Finally, I received a letter from Boris Johnson's office, with a vague agreement that London should become greener.

We now have a new London Mayor; let us see.