Archive for January, 2010

Camera technology jumping ahead

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

New and improved cameras are coming to the market at  a great rate – clever people the Japanese (almost all cameras are Japanese).

The functionality is fantastic and getting more so. Just mention some: adaptable electronic focusing, artfilters like peephole and cross-processing, multiexposure via the LCD screen, in-camera control of background and exposure, HD-movies with depth of view control, built in projector, WIFI connection to internet, lots of special add-ons, new and improved lenses.

Storage cards are also moving. The new SDXC cards have a capacity of up to 2TB and increased file transfer speed of up to 300MB/sec. 64GB card are already out.

We are getting there: everybody is a communicator, publish and share via your camera, be an artist, do twitter and facebook directly from your camera.

Progress report: intelligent auto mode assist functions video/photo, prevent blurring from handshake, ISO control, intelligent exposure controlling that reproduction is good, scene selector automatics extended versions, 3/4 cameras with interchangeable optics (interchangeable between producers as well) and no mirror box and lighter viewfinder unit, presets for peripheral defocus mode, touch screens for operation, communications expansion: talk to your camera lately? Exciting times!

Event business in event nations

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

The Chinese Olympics was a prime example of a nation showing the world what it can do, like many before it. Lots of people came to the event, leaving lots of money and going home with their memories.

Commercialisation of events is now gaining strength all over the world: Sports, eco-arrangements, location-touring, festival-tourism, science, fashion etc. – the interest is growing fast.

A creative industry is sprouting, and governments are increasingly taking part, looking to both national marketing and branding, jobs and plain fun. The competitive element among nations is also present: We are the best, more modern, intellectual, cultural etc. nation!

It is no longer a festival every fourth year, but many events per year – in some countries there are now hundreds of events per year. Governments are finding this interesting and are joining up with national policies, money, institutions, cooperative arrangements – whole national platforms are being built. Keep a stream of people coming to your country all the time, and money will be plentiful.

A new branch of business is emerging with lots of jobs. Schools and universities must teach people, research must be done, marketing, operations, goods and wares delivered, hotels, eating – if you are good this can be big – there are 6.5 billion people out there who increasingly can afford to take part.

Why not make your own event? Event nations and communities are surely the future. Build a good infrastructure and you will have your share of the proceeds. A new growth business!

The disappearance of the good city

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

The comfort and niceties of a well-created city has been slowly disappearing for many years.

A good city with many diverse establishments scattered about, where people can easily move about, where children can play, where jobs and schools are integrated in city life, where small businesses like violinmaking and other workshops are mixed with shops, eateries, small offices, there are plazas where you can sit and talk and watch other people, parks are of fair size and well kept and can be used for playing, entertainment can be found, transport vehicles do not disturb you, architecture is well done, surprises can be found here and there, there is activity most hours of the day, area utilization is fair.

Many well-kept old towns are like this. Many ill-kept old towns are not at all like this. Many new towns are a disgrace and look like fortresses where common rooms are tiny or non-existent, huge office blocks are crowding out everything else, there is nobody there outside working hours, the only establishments are shops and offices, nobody lives there, or often with no children or old people.

The new possibilities and thinking is there – the new urbanity, environmental sustainability, integration, the availability of individual money, well developed theory and good examples of practices.

What do we do? Local planning departments, local regulators of many kinds, local public pressure can change this tendency and give us back the good city. Or must this become a national issue where laws must be enacted?

But you can do all your shopping at the mall outside – or inside – town. It is very efficient! What is the problem really?

The problem is that many – maybe most – people don’t like what is happening. Increasing urbanity is happening all over the world and although our thinking about cities is good, there are some negative – mainly overly commercial – forces at work in too many places.

Digitally distributed cinema on all screens

Monday, January 11th, 2010

A project NORDIC to digitalize cinemas is under way in Norway. NORDIC means Norway’s Digital Interoperability in Cinemas. The cinemas and a State fund is paying for this together with international  film interests. Similar projects are in progress in other countries. The American Digital Cinema Initiative DCI is also financing part of the project.

Some say it will not improve the viewing quality at all?

An all-digital distribution to the end user is the aim. Optical broadband lines are required as the digital files are large 1-4 TB, or 200-1000 DVDs. The technical side is a big challenge including format and equipment decisions.

The politics are not easy either: is this an American control mechanism or establishment of a monopoly to keep out others? Can others take part and is there a licence fee to pay? Are there standards that apply? Will we all be in the pockets of American studios? Will others have to establish their own systems?

The use of the system could be widened to include “heavy-duty” transmissions requiring sharp pictures, e.g. surgery, footballmatches. It is also hoped that smaller cinemas can be included, attracting many more viewers. Not a word about prices so far.

What happens to DVDs and internet streaming of movies, TV-movies?

This seems to be progress in many ways. It will also push forward better internet speeds, or maybe bit-torrent techniques will come in useful? May be the new technology will induce more people to come to the cinemas in the future.

Special “narrow” films can easily be shown, old films can be distributed like never before, special shows outside the big marketing efforts can be arranged easily, broader distribution is possible: you can watch the film in a little cinema at the same time as the big ones.

This will be exciting with sensible policies!

Climate basics

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Wikipedia: The law of conservation of energy is an empirical law of physics. It states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant over time (is said to be conserved over time). A consequence of this law is that energy cannot be created nor destroyed. The only thing that can happen to energy in a closed system is that it can change form, for instance chemical energy can become thermal energy.

The Earth, the atmosphere and the Sun can be thought of as an isolated system. So the energy coming from the Sun (visible light and invisible radiation) to the Earth is equal to the energy reflected back (via the the atmosphere, troposphere, through clouds) into space, plus energy emitted as invisible radiation, plus energy stored as heat in the atmosphere, land and plants and the oceans. (Remember the Albedo of the Earth.)

So the big question is: Where does the CO2 fit in – all 0.003% of it of atmospheric gases? As the human emissions of CO2 supposedly lead to higher temperatures where does the energy for this come from? Is there a CO2 layer that traps the heat? Does CO2 have a thermal capacity?

Keep following this space – we have have scientists working on these questions.

Aliens? New planets?

Monday, January 11th, 2010

The search for extraterrestrial life gains momentum according to the Washington Post, Popular Science a.o.

The  American NASA Kepler Space Telescope (photometer attached to a spacecraft) is finding new planets – 5 so far.

Arrays of radio telescopes have also been used, but radio is a slow communications form, and maybe the aliens use optically based communication.

Japanese researchers are engaged in similar research.

Are there habitable planets out there, are there aliens, also is there an end or border to the solar system as we see it now?

This follows the tradition of Copernicus, Kepler, Brahe who developed new tools and thinking to start us on our way. Today new tools, especially computers for calculations, and thinking is developing, and finding planets makes it more exciting.

The Milky Way. There is an estimated stars out there – possibilities should be endless.

The politics of climate

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Al Gore, Norwegian Foreign Minister Støre helped by the Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute Winther presented a report in Copenhagen (Dec. 14.) claiming a rise in sea level of up to 2 meters in this century.

Media pushed it to the front.

It appears now that the figures are estimates based on probabilities only and that we can’t say for sure what it will be.

Who needs this kind of publishing of doubtful information?

Scientists must be allowed to work as scientists do and not be pushed around by politicians and the media.

The great CO2 swindle ?

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Martin Durkin has made a film – The Global Warming Swindle – where he has assembled people that disagree rather violently with the current dogma that global warming is caused by humans through their emission of CO2 into the atmosphere.

The increase in temperature in the last century is about 0.5 degree C. and Durkin’s people say that it is completely caused by an increase in solar activity, and that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere always closely follows solar activity.

The atmosphere consists of 99% nitrogen and oxygen, and CO2 is about 0.003 % of the atmospheric gases, or 350 ppm. Water vapour is the most important climate gas with about 1000 ppm. The CO2 is mostly derived from natural processes like volcano eruptions, animals and bacteria, dying plants, oceans. The human element is less than 10% of this.

Al Gore uses evidence that there is a lot of CO2 in the atmosphere when the temperature is high, meaning that the temperature will rise as we empty CO2 into the atmosphere. The Durkin people challenge this saying the correct way of looking at this is that when the solar activity is high and the temperarture is rising the CO2 level rises after a while – many years after – the temperature is leading the CO2 increase by several hundred years.

There is an almost complete correlation between the sunspot activity and temperature changes for very long time series. The rise in sea level also has to do with expansion of the water mass of the sea, and relative changes in local land levels. The polar icecaps are continually moving back and forth over the years, there is no dramatic effect expected.
The IPCC is said to be political, the evidence is not used the correct way, environmetalists have other agendas, media need dramatic even apocalyptic scenarios to write about, the debate about what is right is strangely enough raging rather shrilly and not in the fashion of deliberate scientists.
There is also the question of who bears the burden. Should the developing nations hold back in their development and not use oil and coal it means they can forget about their economic dreams for their people. If the international community holds these nations back due to the CO2 play, we have a possible conflict coming up.
Durkin’s conclusion is that CO2 is irrelevant in relation to global warming – that is completely controlled by the solar activity.
The origin of the CO2 scenario seems to be Swedish professor Bert Bolin – see link: – but he never knew the answer to what CO2 could do.

Consumer climate action

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

We are all polluters you know!

Some people are starting to do something about this – they buy climate quotas to offset the pollution they are causing. Their money is invested in projects of many kinds that improve the emission situation in the world: new sustainable energy schemes, energy intensity improvements or research into new green technology.

Flying is seen to be the most emissive way of moving about. For a family of four a flight from southern Norway to Bangkok has emissions similar to 10 medium cars for a whole year. Airlines are now busy offering quotas that passengers can buy before flying. Sales are so far slack and prices vary widely, some say inconsistently.

There are many companies and even state agencies offering quotas: German Atmosfair/Germanwatch, Australian Climate Friendly, Norwegian Mitt Klima, Greenseat, Norwegian State Pollution Agency….

Many companies are offering projects to invest in: The Carbon Neutral Company, My Climate….

There are also web-sites offering tools where you can calculate your household emissions so that you know how much to buy. The results vary, so do take care not to buy too much.

This system is clearly in its infancy and much has to be clarified: Emission numbers used, should this continue to be voluntary or compulsory, certification of companies, UN project confirmation, transparency, tracking of projects.

Yes, it is a start and we will surely hear more about these practices.

Transition Towns (or village/city/forest/island)?

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Peak oil is coming – inevitably.

A new concept is coming up: creating transition communities to respond to the combined challenges of peak oil and climate change.

The process is this: Form an initiating group, adopt the transition model, engage many, start a transition initiative. Building resilience to the coming changes necessary when quitting the carbon economy is essential.

See link:

No politics or fuzz – just practical work to get transition going.