Soon a year will pass after the devastating BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The affects were grave as people lost lives, and the environment was destroyed (water, animals, vegetation). As with most public outrage, comes creative forms of expression to ‘show what you feel’.
Powerful statements and feelings expressed through images; lets hope this tragedy is a ‘teachable moment’ for all involved – greedy corporations, corrupt governments, and unfortunately the wildlife and people affected.
Tangent 009 – 5 Cents a bag, phones in exams, earphones
5 Cents a bag
Before, it used to be certain grocery stores that would charge you 5 cents per bag; the tradeoff was that the grocery store offered lower prices and didn’t invest in things like food sampling, bagging your groceries, and the like. Now, all commercial stores imaginable from grocery to retail, now have to charge 5 cents per bag. It is really starting to become a nuisance as I will go to one of my regular stores, shop, and then get shocked when the cashier asks me if I want bags – then I do the usual, ‘Oh yeah, I forgot’ thing, and privately cuss to myself that this is asinine.
Phones in Exams
I am sure that everyone can relate to an exam situation in school where the prof said “everyone turn off or silence your phone”, and half-way through the exam, a loud annoying polyphonic sound emits from some student. The student tries to coyly turn it off, but it never works, and the class is disrupted. Whenever I go into class, exam or not, I have the common sense to say to myself, “ok, its time to turn off or put the phone on vibrate”. I don’t understand how other people can simply forget this common act of courtesy and decency. You have to be an idiot or a moron to not have the foresight that your phone might ring in class, and it would be wise to check before you enter class. Simple respect for the prof and your classmates, you lame.
The earphones for your iPod/mp3 player will never function properly for more than 1 year; I think there is an exact science to it. Earphones are designed to only last a few months before one side of the earphones ceases to work properly – one side may not produce sound at all, or it may produce a reduced sound. I have had walkmans, Discmans, various iPods, and over time the earphones will crap out. Always. I never thought of investing in expensive earphones, but I may just have to pay the price to enjoy ‘ear to ear’ continuous sound.
The project is headed by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC). Initiated in 2006, the project is projected to cost US$22 billion and take some eight years to build, with the first phase scheduled to be complete and habitable in 2009. The city will cover 6 square kilometres (2.3 sq mi) on a site 6.4 km² (2.5 sq mi) in size and will be home to 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses, primarily commercial and manufacturing facilities specialising in environmentally-friendly products, and an expected 40,000 workers will commute to the city daily. It will also be the location of a university, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST), which will be assisted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Automobiles will be banned within the city; travel will be accomplished via public mass transit and personal rapid transit systems, with existing road- and railways connecting to other locations outside the city.
Masdar City will be the latest of a small number of highly planned, specialized, research and technology-intensive municipalities that incorporate a living environment, similar to Novosibirsk, Russia or Tsukuba Science City, Japan.
Masdar will employ a variety of renewable power sources. Among the first construction projects will be a 40 to 60 megawatt solar power plant, built by the German firm Conergy, which will supply power for all other construction activity. This will later be followed by a larger facility, and additional photovoltaic modules will be placed on rooftops to provide supplemental solar energy totalling 130 megawatts. Wind farms will be established outside the city’s perimeter capable of producing up to 20 megawatts, and the city intends to utilise geothermal power as well. In addition, Masdar plans to host the world’s largest hydrogen power plant.
Water management has been planned in an environmentally-sound manner as well. A solar-powered desalination plant will be used to provide the city’s water needs, which is stated to be 60 percent lower than similarly sized communities. Approximately 80 percent of the water used will be recycled and waste water will be reused “as many times as possible,” with this so-called greywater being used for crop irrigation and other purposes.
The city will also attempt to reduce waste to zero. Biological waste will be used to create nutrient-rich soil and fertiliser, and some may also be utilised through waste incineration as an additional power source. Industrial waste, such as plastics and metals, will be recycled or repurposed for other uses.