My piece about Japanese whaling chief Hideki Moronuki is generating some interesting discussion. I’ve just posted a long comment. Worth a read, even if it’s not about Heath Ledger. Oh, and you can always subscribe to the comments feed to ensure you don’t miss any of the action.
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Last night’s final episode of Michael Parkinson‘s long-running TV chat show should have been much better, given the stellar cast. The one stand-out for me was David Attenborough. Something he said reminded me of a conversation we had 24 years ago. I’ll share that episode shortly. But first, here’s the interview we did…
Sir David Attenborough hardly needs an introduction. He was in Australia promoting the TV series and book The Living Planet when I spoke with him. His previous series Life on Earth was the UK’s highest-rating ever at that time. The Living Planet looked to be heading in the same direction.
Attenborough has been a TV producer almost as long as the medium has existed.
From 1965 to 1969 he was Controller of the then-new BBC 2, followed by four years in another executive position. After 8 years behind a desk he decided he’d had enough of computers, accounting and unions, and returned to life as a producer — a decision, he says, that wasn’t hard to make.
I had the good fortune to spend half an hour with Attenborough in his hotel room. I was his ninth interview for the day, and the greying gentleman in his fifties was visibly tired — particularly tired, he said, of being asked questions like “What’s your favourite animal”. But as I set up my equipment we chatted and, once he realised that I knew his work and knew what I was doing, his eyes began to sparkle just like on TV.
Our interview covered conservation, the making of Life On Earth and some remarkably prescient observations about the changing nature of TV programs.
Global warming — no, I won’t cave into the Neo-Con’s re-branding of “climate change” — may be an important election issue. But, as with so many big issues, most voters wouldn’t have a clue.
Respondents were asked to select a description of Kyoto from a set of multiple options: (a) A Korean car, (b) The treaty that ended WWII, (c) An agreement on carbon emissions and (d) A Japanese banquet dish.
Almost half of the people surveyed answered correctly… But close to half of those who answered correctly admitted guessing the response.
38% thought it was the treaty ending WWII.
I shouldn’t be surprised. Back when I was working for ABC Radio I did a vox pop the morning after a state cabinet re-shuffle, asking people to name any cabinet member, old or new. 80% didn’t know what a “cabinet” was, let alone any names.
The message is simple. Perhaps we can never be 100% sure that global warming is primarily caused by human activity. However the risk of this being the case and us doing nothing about it far outweighs the risk of changing our behaviour and then finding out it wasn’t necessary.
I was shocked. Early this morning every single agapanthus plant in our back yard was covered in snails. They’d climbed up onto the leaves — and they were having sex.
Hundreds and hundreds of snails engaged in a filthy hermaphroditic bisexual snail orgy!
I raced inside to get a camera. I couldn’t find The Good Camera quickly enough, so I grabbed my phone.
But the forecast is for a 34C maximum today — in October! The sun was rising, and so was the temperature. The snails were retreating.
I only had time to grab a quick, blurry image of this pair (pictured), going their separate ways after a morning of debauchery. Sluts.
I’ll just quote the source:
The term greenwashing applies when companies (or governments) spend more money or time advertising being green, than on investing in environmentally sound practices.
In business, greenwashing often means changing the name and/or label. Early warning signs that a product is probably toxic include images of trees, birds, or dew drops. If all three are on the box, the product will probably make your skin peel off in seconds…
I’ve been looking at this photograph for hours, scattered over the last few days.
It was apparently taken from the space shuttle Columbia. I shouldn’t need to point out that the big lumpy thing in the foreground is called Africa, and further back there’s the thing they call Europe.
It fascinates me because it — literally! — puts things in perspective. Some of the world’s greatest cities are invisible, at least in daylight. The Low Countries are just starting to blaze in artificial light. But the brightest lights are the flares of oil wells in the deserts of Algeria and Libya, and off the coast of Nigeria.
Hey, aren’t the people there starving? That can’t be right, if they’ve got all that oil, surely?
Thanks to Memex 1.1 for the pointer.
This isn’t new news, but it came out of comments to another post. Weight for weight, the average computer chip does more harm to the environment than the car.
A team at the United Nations University in Tokyo found that to make one 2-gram memory chip requires:
- 1.6kg of fossil fuel
- 72g of chemicals
- 32kg of water
That last one truly scares me — especially as I’m guessing the water has to be pure to wash microscopic components.
Nominations for the Green CIO Awards close tomorrow, 1 August. How come none of the categories seem to cover the most important thing we should all do: just consume less stuff?
On the surface it sounds great. “A given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen,” says About Blackle. So if everyone turns Google black we’ll save heaps of energy, because it’s such a widely-used website. At least that’s the theory.
But as always the devil is in the detail…
- It’s only old-style CRT monitors which use less energy when displaying darker images. Modern LCD flat-panels use the same power no matter what.
- Blackle is a front-end onto Google, serving out the adverts and all. So using Blackie adds to the total power consumption. As well as whatever Google uses, you’re also adding in the overhead of routing your requests via Blackle.
- Currently the Blackle home page claims “115,486.374 Watt hours saved”, up from 113,834.304 Watt hours around this time yesterday. That’s not a lot of electricity. 2kWh is enough to run a small server computer for maybe 4 hours — perhaps 6 if it’s not fully loaded. In other words, Blackle uses 4 or 5 times more energy than it saves.
Still, it’s a great way of getting attention for your business under the banner of “saving the planet”, eh? Plus, having a black background means your site can have that oh-so-current style of having everything look like it’s reflected in some shiny black surface.