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My green flight(s) of shame December 31, 2008

Posted by Sarah in me.
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Inspired by Stuart, I decided to work out how much I’ve travelled in the course of 2008, and place this distance in some kind of “planetary perspective”. Well, I can say that it doesn’t look pretty! In total, I seem to have travelled over 40,000 km – and coincidentally that’s pretty much the circumference of the Earth. Yikes. Must do better next year.*

To solidify my good intentions, I booked my first trip of 2009 – a very convoluted one in 3 countries- all by train. It was definitely more expensive than flying. What’s up with that?

And speaking of the environment, Alexis Madrigal put together a list of the top 10 green technology breakthroughs of 2008. It’s an interesting read, go take a look. Madrigal is actually writing a book on the history of green technologies in the US, he’s keeping his research notes in a blog,  here.

* Oh no. My Dopplr profile tells me I have 43,000 km of travel lined up already in 2009, and I have the velocity of a duck. That’s a bit terrifying. Quack!

Hurricane Gustav September 4, 2008

Posted by Sarah in science.
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This great photo appeared on the Wired blog yesterday, showing Hurricane Gustav as it hits the South Coast of the US. Natural disasters and extreme weather phenomena are fascinating can really put humanity in perspective, in much the same way that astronomy can. We can argue about wars and disease for centuries, but in the context of the Earth alone, which itself is an utterly insignificant blip on the scale of the Universe, we’re really pretty insignificant.

[NB – By this I don’t mean to say that we should just accept the Earth’s caprices and the human life it can claim. There’s no excuse for being unprepared. Here in the Netherlands for example, the way water levels are so meticulously managed is really inspiring. One storm, over 50 years ago, is all it took to make this happen.]