Archive for November, 2009

Climate cooling – of our heads!

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Alarms are ringing in many places – we have not done enough for the climate! We also worry that concern about the impact of climate change is on the decline in many countries. The years are passing us by and the emissions are increasing more or less like they always have. It appears that the models and prognostics are not well developed, although they can tell us about high probabilities of serious warming in the years to come, with dire consequences.

There is even talk about smoothing of data, scams, hoaxes for and against. The clarity that we want is not yet there and agressive bloggers, lobbyists, activists are turning up the noise levels. The media are surely not helping us. We are in a state of confusion! Politicians are helpless in this situation.

The notion of “qualified scientist” is being put forward – scientists are busy qualifying themselves and disqualifying some others. In the background there is the noise from the media – the authority is not there, there is a growing need for the defining probability or truth. Peer-reviews, publications, consensus is a mantra that does not solve this, but maybe a proper communications strategy is?

Complexity is abundant in the world of climate: There are many places in the world and the effects may be of its own kind in your place, there are cyclical effects, short term and long term variations and unknown factors starting to play up or disappearing, there is not a ready model for this now, there may be tipping points involved. But the models are evolving and will in time be helpful.

The business world has however seen the possibilities of new products and markets and companies are gearing up for the green revolution – which is a good idea whatever the truth is. Peak oil will come – maybe later than sooner – renewable energy and energy efficiency can`t be bad.

Maybe this is what we should do – stop the squabbling and start serious work on improving our environment including developing new, cheap and sustainable energy forms. Let us change the agenda a bit – let us start making changes and let science run its course.

The global cooling we should talk about now is the cooling of our heads!

Music for the future – hopefully near future

Friday, November 27th, 2009

The guitar based rock-like music is all-permeating and hopefully here to stay. But new ways of exciting us must come – surely!

Therefore look to the the electronic world: data-programs and electronic machines can do wonderful things for a creative mind! So far the substantiality of it all is not great – apparently and commercially – but changes are afoot.

Some busswords: solo-live-oscillator-laptop-synth-ambient-dubcore-noisetronicaband, improvised and structured music near the borderline of noise, electronica and ambient. Virtual sound produced by spatial algoritms. All this indicates quiet  and cosy music.

Algorithmic composition, algorithmic music analysis, music analysis software and techniques – many compositional approaches are possible – rules-based techniques, data-driven models, genetic algorithms, neural networks, fuzzy logic, mathematical modeling and sonification. Software programs like Common Music, Max, Open Music etc….

Now listen  – has this a place in the world of music: Ambisonics, spherical acoustics, 2010acoustics, signal processing and perception. What about spherical microphone arrays? Spherical acoustics theory? Ambisonics for sound scene reproduction and virtual acoustic environments?

What is coming? The public is ready!

Take a look:

Growing your food in another country (largescale)

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

A trend is emerging that make people sit back and think some.

Many firms and some states are now renting or acquiring farmland in countries away from home, and starting to do agriculture the way they do it at home, i.e. in a very modern way with GM seeds with resistances built in and high yields, the best equipment and even their own people.

This is a fairly recent phenomenon and lately it has attracted some attention. Local people are  starving in some of these places, farmers don´t like being pushed away, methods have been criticized, there is doubt where the money goes, food markets are disrupted.

Examples are Madagascar where South Korea have come in (causing the overthrow of the president), Ethiopia where India, Saudi Arabia have interests, Kina in Angola etc.

Food security for the locals is also an issue. Legal systems in some countries are such that the ownership of land is a common good. Some nomads are also hurt when large areas are put to these uses.

Water is often an additional issue as farming needs lots of water.

Event culture + local culture

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

The number of large, sometimes major, arrangements is rising in most countries. It seems we increasingly attend the big events with lots of people, promotion, sponsors, product placements and media interest. The local hall is big – with room for a minimum of thousands of spectators/listeners.

The money is  going into the big professional all-consuming arrangements that are mostly of very high quality. The artists are mostly world stars covering the planet.

Some people are worried that the small day to day cultural activities like playing music, reading, local debates or football matches, concerts, painting exhibitions etc. are dwindling.

Maybe there can be too much of a good thing? There is a duality and a long term to consider. The grassroots must be there in any country, talent must grow and special interests must be present. Adaptation and innovation is the key.

The number of big venues are steadily increasing, the professionalism is great, equipment is good, local talent will get a part. All of this bodes well for all!

Why not make local culture, small-scale your way to pull people to your place? Put your place on the map, change the environment to the better, create new arenas for performance and use old arenas in new ways, make local people participate (free?), become part of a good thing, introduce better local planning —.

See? Maybe you can become big one day?

Correct climate data out there?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, presented in 2007 the consensus view on how bad man-made climate change has (maybe) become.

Articles in US media are now presenting an e-mail theft (Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University in the U.K.) involving hackers where scientists appear to try to present a consensus view on the theory of man-made climate change in spite of the real data. In order to do this they appear to smooth data so the favored hypothesis comes out. They also want to keep opposing views out of leading journals and try to hide lower temperatures in the data.

A question arises: Does the public not have a right to know the data behind their climate-change models and conclusions? Governments are now deeply involved in costly legislation to improve the bad situation – so what if the conclusions are not true?

Freedom of information is the norm in most countries  – is the IPCC exempt from this? Why try to blacklist scientists who disputed the models and conclusions?

Is there a coordinated operation by leading climatologists to fit the data to their own conclusions and attempt to silence and discredit their critics? Please let us have some investigative journalism! And where does this leave the lawmakers?

This is fantastic news for the conspiracy/global (giant) collusion people: Alex Jones, David Icke, Peter Duesberg who are claiming that there are several attempted scams in progress.

What is the real story here?

Africa emerging!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Africa is slowly finding its way into the new multipolar world politics. A lot of things are not going so well in Africa, but a better picture is slowly emerging. Money is coming in from many sources.

The Chinese president and his people have been there several times lately, Obama has roots there and has placed Africa on his agenda, the French are trying to keep up the old influences. Improvements are on on the way in the administration of many trouble spots.

Africa has many resources of value to others – metals and minerals, oil. With an ever hungrier world farmland is growing in importance and may be the greatest resource of all.

Will Africa benefit from its strong position? Surely its people deserve a good deal!

Windpower is killing the eagles

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Environmentalists are fighting each other – what is most important: eagles or clean power?

Norwegian sea eagles are being killed in a big windmill installation in Smøla, Norway. Ornithologists have been mapping the situation for 10 years, and have found that 28 eagles have been felled by the mills. Other birds may also be involved. The matter has been brought to the attention of the Bern convention asking them to rule on the situation. The Bern convention has been made to protect wild animals and their habitats, and has been signed by Norway.

The ornithologists claim the windmills must be stopped and moved to another area.

The number of eagles in the Northern area is increasing.

Norway has been working on location planning for windmills for some time, but maybe this one has to be reversed?

The Smøla windmill installation is the biggest onshore installation in Northern Europe with 68 windmills. The adverse consequences were taken up in 1999 after public complaints, and a report was produced.

Similar reports: Gibraltar, Sicily, US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Israel

Green business development

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Business opportunities are coming up in the green world – innovations towards a sustainable world are presented in increasing numbers.

Examples of green business developments:

  • Energy efficiency, small scale energy production – e.g. biomass on farms, biogas production equipment for local waste, energy production from biogas recovery systems from cow dung and other waste materials on farms
  • Systems and equipment for waste treatment and management
  • Energy distribution, flexibility in energy use
  • Absorption of unwanted substances like chemicals, oils, blood etc. by natural means – peat, wood cuttings
  • Installations and equipment for collecting and storing CO2 subsea
  • New and improved building insulation materials, energy efficiency in buildings
  • Environmental data collection and analysis, ecological facts, carbon footprint calculations
  • Environmental management systems, certification services
  • Teaching environmental techniques to companies enabling them to take part in the new business opportunities
  • Energy production based om the piezoelectric effect utilizing the pressure of cars on the road. Heavy traffic produces lots of current via roadside power-stations. Other applications using movement of cars to produce electricity have also been considered. Electric fields in roads could be used by your (electric) car to pick up charge?
  • energy production from biogas recovery systems from cow dung and other waste materials on farms – a new energy source
  • carbon management software for better accounting of your energy use and emissions

You want a job? Go green – become a scientist, engineer, regulator, whatever the green world needs!

Surely – something is moving nicely along!

Synthetic life – new lifeforms

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

We are approaching a situation where we can design organisms to do what we want. We may be able to construct organisms with new genomes from scratch and put them to work for us!

Szybalski wrote in 1974 that we can build up new genomes, and that this technology has unlimited expansion potential. Vinge and Kurzweil have written about the singularity or paradigm shifts where the sudden growth of new thinking and technology “happens”.

The tools are being developed – recently Craig Venter announced that he is working on tools for new biotechnological production. Others have shown that lab activity is high, and may soon be on the way into production shops.

It seems that we can design complex organisms, building new DNA by gene synthesis, synthetic chemistry and synthetic biology. The possible uses seem to be unlimited – an example has been biofuels based on new organisms with yields much higher than present substances.

Combinations with nano tech is also on the horizon.

There are risks and legal questions to be settled, but the advantages seems to outweigh the risks by far. Building understanding of what we do is as usual important.

Peak oil coinciding with the real action in renewables?

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

IEA has made a new prognosis for energy use, investment, production for the years up to 2030. Fossil fuel will dominate, but some present sources are reducing output fast. According to “Scenario 450″ renewables will not be a big player in this period, rising from 6% to 12% of consumption.

New fossil capacity is required of the size of 4 times today`s Russian production.There seems to be uncertainty if this indeed is possible.

The concept of peak oil has been advanced again, and uncertainty is still great. Some oil nations are seeing hard changes coming! Must we prepare for reduced fossil production before 2020 and step up renewables production? (Wikipedia: Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline)

The estimates for undiscovered conventional oil and gas are being checked and recalculated, e.g. by US Geological Survey using advanced Monte Carlo models.

As we know there are also many “substandard” oil presences – shale, tar, hidden by salt etc. There are also political disagreements looming, especially in the North and in the China Sea.

It would be wise to follow up on this.