Archive for February, 2010

Developing a sense of nature

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Environmental thinking is developing nicely, although good environmetal practices are somewhat lacking in many places.

The look of a landscape should be part of environmentalism – especially where humans have made changes.

Landscapes could be opened up for transport, building, viewing, business, leisure but increasing care must be taken to ensure that nature is part of our considerations – that we develop a sense of nature.

Beautiful scenery can be combined with human activity, landscaping can add new dimensions to roads, bridges, tunnels etc. to make an integrated solution as regards what nature made and what man made.

Agricultural areas, waterways, roads, railroads could all be designed so that they are in harmony with forests, mountains, rivers etc. in a holistic picture.

The next ambition could be to design urban spaces, agricultural areas and even industrial areas with a view to beauty and integration with nature.

Landscaping can add new dimensions to nature, nature can enhance manmade structures.

See also: ” MAD is a Beijing-based design office dedicated to innovation in architectural practice, landscape design and urban planning. MAD develops its unique concept of futurism through a persistent investigation of the symbiotic potentials amid nature and technology. MAD aspires to design in close harmony with nature, offering people the freedom to develop independent urban experiences.”

Noisy environment is polluted environment

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Lots of people are bothered by noise: in cities, from planes, factories, railways, traffic – there are quite a few sources. Road traffic is the main culprit.

Most countries now have regulations so that noise levels are supposed to be kept acceptable. Noise level is measured by Lekv which is the average noise level measured over one half hour. The WHO has recommendations. A noise level of 50 Lekv gives health risks, 60 Lekv and above is increasingly dangerous to public health. The consequences of noise are reduced sleep and risk of heart conditions. Researchers in the EU has found increased deaths from heart diseases when noise levels are above 58 Lekv. Death numbers of 60-100 per year have been estimated in little Norway alone.

The work to reduce noise is slipping up in most places. Noise reduction is very expensive, and cities and munis are avoiding these costs.

Cars are noise machines – also when they are standing still.

Noise control is part of environmental policy and can not be forgotten. People are dying from it, many are unhappy because of it. So let us not forget – global warming is not the sole environmental cause.

Noise thinking – the Holst disk

Sustainable architecture for the future

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art has shown some new ideas in architecture – a green pavilion

Restoring the natural environment

Friday, February 19th, 2010

An opencast gold mine in Nevada is a huge pit, an iron ore production facility in the Australian West where mountains are removed, a weapons testing and shooting range in Norway, producing oil from tar sands in Canada, chopping down rain-forests in many places: We do massive damage to nature resulting in problems of many kinds – visual catastrophes and environmental scandals.

Restoring what is destroyed is now a requirement – a wider view is needed.

And we go further: Now an extended view is advocated. Research and management should also cover free areas of nature, regulate them, look at limits to the spread of urbanity, coordinate animal husbandry and hunting, make sure rivers are clean, forests grow, take old cultures and thinking into account, see to it that biodiversity exists, old local plants are used and ask people to moving about to respect nature.

See links:

Mountain Fox – part of a project to reestablish the fox in Southern Norway.

Best of all – do not disturb nature in the first place.

A bright but disorderly music industry

Friday, February 19th, 2010

The big record companies will go – or so everybody says. For music users hardly any problems with that – so what?

The music will find the people: music will be available in all forms, the CD will not die – but music distribution will be complex, both live and digital, free and paid for – companies have to be nifty, agile, innovative for music users. No doubt money is required by artists, but many new ideas will be seen. Notions of where to get the money will be challenged as old business models will fail.

Diverse new and many small-scale arenas will be important for festivals and their agents, new and good bloggers will appear, media will find their roles (for some new), small agile record companies are starting in numbers – some by the artists themselves – all will vie for attention: live music will be revived, the possibilities for entering the music scene are multiple and low-cost. An era of new development is starting.

See story about HADOUKEN! in Q Music Magazine February: No big label, let users download for free, buy hoodies, get tickets for shows, digital marketing and radio plugging, building communities, networking, going hitec! Q The Music Magazine

Follow this act – and similar ones! The awakening has started.  (And music radio too – the technical possibilities are multiple: Q Radio)

And unit price must be reduced: How cheap can you do it pr. unit? How many people are there – big volumes make dramatic unit price reductions possible! 50 million customers paying 10 dollars or 2 billion customers paying one dollar? We must find the tipping point – and the cost structures!

Electric cars: need big volume and hitec

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

The thinking and practice of building electric cars is coming round.

Many companies are producing electric cars now, but the numbers are low and the technology is first generation. The total numbers of cars are in the thousands, we need millions to make an impact.

The producers can all see what is coming, and in the EU a project called E3Car has been started. It is big, with many participants, it is funded from many sources. Companies Infineon and Valeo are in charge.

Quote: “E3Car Project Objective is the development of nanoelectronics technologies, devices, circuits architectures and modules for electrical and hybrid vehicles and demonstration of these modules in final systems. Focus on component design, circuit architecture concepts and semiconductor technology developments.”

Industrialization is coming: high volumes, better components all around, longer range, faster charging, better energy efficiency, wider range of cars and more. And cheaper too?

This is the Europeans doing their bit, and the others -  Japanese, US, Korean etc.-  are coming. An Indian company is producing a car in Norway.

See link:     E3CAR

Good thinking and soon we’ll see fine work – surely!

Rapid communication

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Internet speeds are going up – fast.

Google will build a local net in the US to demonstrate what you can do on a fixed line with a speed of 1 Gbits/s. Many wonderful things they say.

Ericsson have demonstrated a 4G net with speed of 1 Gbits/s for (wireless) mobile users. Speeds of 20-112 Mbits/s are already being installed today. Chinese/international company Huawei is installing a 20+ net in Norway for NetCom, Nokia/Siemens can do 112 Mbit/S.

Nice developments!

Breakthrough for Bollywood in the West

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

American films are it – or so far they have been. But now things are changing – maybe. There have been many Eastern/Indian films in the West – perhaps best known lately is “Slumdog Millionaire”.

Now a new movie – big movie – called “My name is Khan” is coming to Berlin and the rest of us. Action, a controlled plot and suspense is not important here – the story is driven by fate or something like that. Nature, music, sweetness and Shah Rukh Khan is the star. Muslim and hindu cultures are part of the production. More will follow – changes are afoot – Bollywood is joining Hollywood on the world stage.

Also take into account Nollywood which is the Nigerian filmindustry’s called name in Lagos. They produce in English, on DVD, and they make about 200 movies per month about love, revenge, politics. Coming to a place near you soon?

When will Chollywood (Chinese) emerge?

New horizons are opening up – good!

Curing the the climate

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

The Norwegian government is planning to cure the climate – a fresh climate is coming – CO2 emissions shall be reduced massively. The project is named “Klimakur 2020″.

A group is working on the numbers: what is the cost? They have been working on this for 2 years and now will publish shortly: Dramatic costs are expected!

This year is for broad evaluation – next year is for the big decisions. A menu of ideas and possibilities will be presented with costs calculated for each item.

The politicians of all parties have agreed to tackle this matter comprehensively: energy efficiency, electrification, a programme for the big emitters, household emissions, transport, CCS, facing up to shipping, air transport, agriculture.

Everybody is scared of the costs – will they be so scary that we don’t dare do a thing? Like Peer Gynt said: “Think about it, talk about it, but do it?”

In the meantime – will new information be presented by the IPCC? Must we do this exercise or have we been led astray?

The CO2 battle

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

A debate is going on internationally, some say is raging, about what figures we can trust in the global warming debate.

Some serious people disagree violently with the IPCC about the scientific foundations, and the IPCC has made serious blunders with their figures that they have had to correct.

The global warming has not started yet, it can not be measured yet, although there is a figure of 0.4 degree Celsius temperature increase in the last 100 years being bandied about. Also the weather we are seeing can’t possibly have anything to do with global warming.

The IPCC is not using measured figures. They have constructed a set of possible figures based on observations of conditions in earlier times, they are using data claimed to be representative of conditions thousands of years ago. From this they calculate and deduce a prognosis of probable or possible developments the next 100 years.

It has become apparent that many scientists have economic interests in a global warming scenario, and there is basic disagreement about the science that will not go away.

So what do we do until things get cleared up? It must be possible to establish what is right science and it must be possible to start measuring the temperature increases soon. Let the scientists battle. In the meantime peak oil is coming nearer, although coal is still abundant.

So the following advice can be given: Be cool, lead a good life, participate in old-fashioned improvements like waste reduction, clean air and water etc. Let the sleeping dogs (the climate) lie! Nobody is doing much anyway.

But the transition into renewables must continue: Carbonbased fuels should be phased out, renewables phased in. And we have plenty of renewables – better energy is coming our way.