Archive for December, 2008

Green Idea #1

December 22, 2008 Leave a comment

Puns aside, the environment seems to be a very hot topic today. Everyone seems to want to make a difference, provided of course that we do not have to sacrifice anything.  Though we may not see the effects of our actions, every bit does help.  Movements such as One Million Acts of Green try to trace the effects of seemingly miniscule contributions.  So in this series of posts I thought I would suggest some things that could make a difference in our conservation of resources and don’t require sacrifice. I welcome comments or better yet your own suggestions.  Without further ado…..

Green Idea #1

Fill your empty freezers with ice.  Now many of us have freezers that are largely empty.  By filling these empty spaces with ice, the freezer has to cycle on less often because the ice will maintain the temperature in the freezer better.  Fridges are in fact cooled by the cold air of the freezer. The coolant devices actually only cool the freezer, and the freezer in turn cools the fridge. The ice in the freezer helps to retain the cold better than just air, thus conserving energy.  In olden days people had ice boxes, which were nothing more than a wooden box that had a huge block of ice above the ‘fridge’ part.  The cold air would descend, cool the box and thus your food.  Pretty rudimentary, but little has changed in 60 years.

Reuse big yogurt containers, coffee cans or whatever you have, fill them with water and leave them in the freezer.  Don’t use containers made of glass! As the water/ice expands it will shatter glass.

This is win-win proposition. You cut down on the energy consumption. The environment wins and you have more money in your pocket.

Categories: Green Ideas

Horatio and the Self-fulfilling Prophecy

December 5, 2008 3 comments

Science has gone quite a long way in furthering our understanding of the world around us. It seems incredible that the bulk of human scientific knowledge has been discovered in the last 200 or so years. It wasn’t until 1824 that Sadi Carnot formalised the laws regarding the nature of conservation and transformation of energy in the world—Thermodynamics. Such scientific understandings alone do not seem to cover all the complex goings on of the universe, at least not yet. As Hamlet so wisely said “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy.”

Laws that govern the scientific universe are said to be immutable. Such understandings include:

  • All matter is made from the same building blocks: atoms bound together by an electromagnetic force.
  • Energy cannot be created or destroyed. It may however change forms, as electricity flowing into a light bulb soon becomes light and heat.
  • Consequent to the previous law, the amount of energy in the universe is finite. It can only be altered and reallocated.

These basic tenets of science, and I do not pretend to possess any great knowledge of science, raise some very innocent and incredibly difficult questions. First, if we are all made of the same building blocks, what accounts for the vast variety of substances in existence? What force is it that keeps one type of matter distinct from other forms of matter? How is it that some substances are so incredibly hard and durable and others so pliable and soft when at the most basic level both consist of atoms. Truthfully, I am unaware of whether there exists an explanation for the atomic organisation of matter. And I am also aware that such a line of questioning is rather esoteric and likely has little impact upon our daily lives. What our discussion means is that fundamentally everything in the world is cut from the same cloth. We, and everything we know, is made up of atoms.

Oh dear! Oh dear! I'm going to be too late

Albeit a big one, the next step involves the application of quantum physics and an understanding about infinite possibilities. Applied to our lives specifically, theories given voice in such videos as What The Bl**p Do We Know? and The Secret seem to point to a common understanding of the universe around us. Moreover, there seems to be at least some scientific rationale to such seemingly far out theories. The seemingly common theme of said videos is that basically we are far more responsible for the creation of the world around us than any of us truly realise.

These recent waves in popular thinking that have been surfacing suggest that on a day-to-day level, we create our own paths. We carve these paths through the world with our minds, creating the circumstances and the events to follow. An experiment cited in What the Bl**p Do We Know? was conducted by a Japanese scientist, Masaru Emoto. He studied water molecules from various places to compare their shapes and appearance. The effects of blessings, music, names, and emotions were also photographed by microscope. Examples may be viewed here.

By visualizing, in some sense, what we want to achieve we are helping to create that outcome. Suppose for a moment that such activities were in fact the means by which reality was manufactured. Suppose that each of us could help to shape our futures by envisioning them as we desire. Professional athletes have been using techniques of visualization for years to improve results shooting free throws, for example. Even if the universe did not bend to our desires, if the theories postulated by new age thinkers held no water whatsoever, visualizing our lives in a positive way couldn’t hurt, could it? Positive thinking may have a far greater impact on the course of our lives then anyone previously realised. Conversely, a view informed by bitterness, insecurity, or entitlement may be equally toxic. Perhaps each of us are in fact self-fulfilling prophecies. The Secret stated “Energy flows where Attention goes.” The attitude that we exude, the direction of our focus is what ultimately charts our course.

Food for Thought.

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