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  1. Earth Ovens

    While most people say that cooking is an art, and baking is a science (because of the precision required of the ratio of ingredients and especially the heat of the oven), I am very intrigued by how this earth oven is made and designed, literally down-to-earth. It can be made out of scraps and recycled materials, fueled by scraps or wood from plantations, captures radiant heat from a fire that had been set off in it and them put out, reflects and sustains that heat for long enough to bake stuff. What do you think?
  2. Living Off the Grid

    In an estimated 20 years, I've heard, it evens out...you could even sell some of the energy collected from solar power, sell it back to the government. Decently-made panels last longer than it would take for them to pay for themselves, of course. I've also read of solar panel technology still developing, so perhaps in a few years there would be more lightweight solar panels that are cheaper to produce, or at least that cheapen old-school solar panels that you can snap up as they would still be functioning? Here's hoping, anyway. I'd like to invest in solar energy, too, one day.
  3. Why others do not believe in global warming?

    A lot of people might notice, but rationalize that it's nothing we've done, individually, and therefore collectively, and therefore is nothing that we can do. A lot of people just don't connect the dots and might even have some hostility towards the attitude that we should be concerned about some environmental footprint.
  4. Tuna Fish

    Ah, so there are species that aren't endangered! Good to know, although of course by the time it gets to my grocery store in cans, there's nobody who really knows what species got caught and butchered or all of that stuff. There are some "handline caught" tuna cans that claim to be better for the biodiversity or the environment, but that's quite a bit more expensive. My grocery store has also begun stocking canned squid and cuttlefish, which I don't know about the impact on biodiversity or the environment, but I'm actually really glad for some variety in the canned seafood section.
  5. Green recycled crafts

    A major storm swept through my area recently and broke many umbrellas. I found a tutorial on how to make a re-usable shopping bag out of the cloth of a broken umbrella, which I think is pretty cool! A friend of my mother's owns a recycled goods store. I think their soda can pull-ring purses look very chic.
  6. Nuclear Radiation

    In March of 2011, a tsunami combined with a magnitude-9 earthquake struck Japan and, notably, wrecked one of the nuclear power plants. The United Nations reported that the effects of the radiation on the population wasn't as bad as it could have been, but this one source claims that it has greatly affected the biodiversity of a whole other continent, so potent and far-reaching are the effects of radiation. The latter source is an economics blog, and I suppose there's only so few sources that can say, "The media is lying but only I know what's what" that can be taken seriously. What do you think?
  7. What do you do with old clothes?

    In the first place, I'm not a large fan of the feeling of poly-blends against my skin. Once it's been worn enough to get worn down, I can trust that it would decompose properly wherever it ends up (hoping that the dyes and colorings aren't toxic). If I still had a garden, I would compost them if they were really that far gone. Otherwise, though, I do the same thing as you do: if outgrown or stretched out of shape but otherwise are whole, then they get donated to disaster relief or poverty relief programs. If they're too damaged for a quick patch-up, then they become get kept as scraps to make quilts out of or some other sewing project, or re-used for cleaning rags.
  8. Trash Islands

    Trash islands haven't only been around for a couple of years, though, right? As long as there have been garbage going into the ocean, and currents to collect it somewhere, then there have been islands forming made out of garbage that, I guess being in international waters, or off the coast of some nation that can't be bothered, or it doesn't seem to be an immediate threat to biodiversity unlike an oil spill because trash islands form so gradually, or all sorts of excuses--nobody does anything about it.
  9. Are you Passionate About Your Work?

    The impression I got was that we all must work and job it until we've saved up enough to retire and then do what we want. Some people find work-life balance somewhere in there. Few people are so fortunate to know what they love, to do what they love, and then find a way to get paid for it, so that they really do love their work and therefore love their life. Here's a link to Larry Smith's TEDtalk on YouTube about why most people fail to have a great career, this topic just reminded me of it. Maybe it's a gigantic error in managing human resources. I recently read up on something called the Kolbe Index, which describes personality types who would be unsuited for particular work because it wouldn't fulfill their instincts. Putting people in jobs that they like to do, that makes them feel fulfilled instead of feel like they're working...that's a human resources skill. I'm okay with the work that I do, neither passionate nor averse. I'd like to do more with my life, though.
  10. Or is it more like a pie chart? An Excel spreadsheet, maybe? I can't trust the latest diet pyramids anymore. They keep changing, and I suspect it's more to do with the commercial power of food industries essentially bribing researchers for a bigger place on the pyramid than any progressing research by medical doctors into what actually nourishes us--let alone what's good for the environment! Mostly, I go for what's locally-grown. That means a lot of rice, some vegetables, and a few meats (mostly poultry, rarely fish). The local nuts aren't anything special, but I do always enjoy whatever fruits happen to be in season.
  11. Kitchenware: Moulded Bamboo

    At the department store I found some neat bowls and cups that were supposedly made out of bamboo. I'm guessing these were mulched and moulded bamboo pulp, because they don't resemble reeds or wood at all. They have a matte texture even though the artificial coloring, and feel closer to plastic than paper or wood. It's supposed to be biodegradable, though I imagine for it to be long-lasting enough to be worth the purchase, the biodegradation (is that a word?) would be very very slow. I'm just happy to have my set because I'm a real klutz and can't abide anything breakable, but couldn't do plastic either-- metal rusts, too, and woodware is usually either too porous or too varnished. This bambooware is just right.
  12. So, Pedestrian

    When I was very young, I had a passion for saving the natural environment, a lot of televised messages encouraging people to cut down on the greenhouse effect (which was common knowledge since grade school, why has it taken so long to become a Thing?) by commuting or walking--and, rather protective parents would would never let me do that because 1. we lived in the city where it was very polluted and they only wanted me breathing the (not yet CFC free) air conditioning inside the car or room to ensure that the air we breathed was clean 2. we lived in a climate where it's usually warm, so add sweat and UV rays to the city grime flying about, and 3. muggers (eventually, terrorists too) So, I grew up learning about the world by being shut up in a magic car-shaped capsule with a movie playing outside the window of going places, and didn't get a sense of where anything in my city really was located relative to each other until my twenties. Walking's one of my favorite things to do, now. People who know how much I walk around on weekends (a lot) and why (just because) kind of break past their "oh how pedestrian" stigma and into "this person is not quite sane and insists upon doing everything the hard way" stigma. The city in which I walk does still have smog, the weather still does whatever it's going to do and doesn't care what I've dressed to prepare for, and I don't have more than a whistle to keep off any harmful people that I have never encountered thank the stars (one day before then I should get a 3000-lumen flashlight, or one of those keychains shaped like spiked brass knuckles). But I pass by the most interesting things, little hole-in-the-wall bakeshops or ice cream parlors, or suspiciously well-decorated alleyways that open up into miniature other countries. What have you found to be the pro's and con's of walking?
  13. Abortions

    Nobody has more at stake, or would be in the most affected (if not the best) position to decide whether to abort or not--than the one who is actually pregnant. Why would somebody bypass the autonomy and perspective of the one who is pregnant, in favor of presuming to voice for the rights of the voiceless embryo or fetus? Is it to impose "proper" consequences of not using contraception? If it's down to human life, well quality of life is a large aspect of human life--but why rather bring another person into this world just because of its potential, rather than continue to respect the quality of life aspired to by the pregnant person? Nobody should force people to have abortions who don't want to have abortions, and, by the same rule, nobody should force somebody to give birth who doesn't want to give birth. Both would be acts of oppression, both violate the autonomy of a person's own body, and both are acts of violence. Let each individual make the choice. Let it be an option. The worst thing someone can do is universalize their personal experience: "my rights end where yours begin", has anyone heard of that? The saying asserts a mutual respect for boundaries.
  14. Why others do not believe in global warming?

    Maria Konnikova recently wrote up this article for the New Yorker about why people's opinions don't change on subjects that...erm...put it this way...are not a matter of opinion. Global warming is even one of the examples or case studies, vaccinations are another... I think of it as the fact-checking difference between gravity and evolution. Maybe physicists haven't unified some theory with some other yet in regards to gravity...but, any layperson and drop a pebble a hundred times and see that it falls every single time. On the other hand, it took a lot of observation and rationalization to come up with the theory of evolution. So, man-made climate change isn't something that hits people as an immediate consequence. Add to that, the adjustments that are required of people, in businesses and in daily life, are too large and inconvenient for most people to take. Therefore, the reaction would be that they just don't believe in this high-faluting theory at all. There might even be a bit of the philosophical prisoner's dilemma thrown in: not only would all the inconveniences they take on have no discernible result, but if everybody else continues to live comfortably and destroy the planet anyway then better to be one of those types of people even if what they do does have an effect.