Jan. 11th, 2012


Jan. 11th, 2012 11:54 am
realthog: (Default)

Every now and then -- mostly then -- I try to make a habit of downloading my LJ using the excellent tool LJArchive, which some kind soul made available a few years back.

I've just discovered that, in one of the recent LJ software upgrades, there's been a change made that has had the inadvertent side-effect of making LJArchive no longer functional. The developer of LJArchive has moved on to other projects, apparently, and is no longer upgrading this one.

Does anyone know if there's any other program that performs the same function? I'd be ever so grateful for the info!

realthog: (Default)
Another science story that came my way after Denying Science had gone to press. I've no idea why it took so long for the story to reach me, but it was worth the wait!

Bioengineered Brick Wins 2010 Metropolis Next Generation Design Prize
Posted: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 

An American architecture professor, Ginger Krieg Dosier, 32, Assistant Professor of Architecture at American University of Sharjah (AUS) in Abu Dhabi, has won this year’s prestigious Metropolis Next Generation Design Prize for “Biomanufactured Brick.” The 2010 Next Generation Prize Challenge was “ONE DESIGN FIX FOR THE FUTURE” - a small fix to change the world. The Next Generation judges decided that Professor Dosier’s well-documented and -tested plan to replace clay-fired brick with a brick made with bacteria and sand, met the challenge perfectly.

“The ordinary brick - you would think that there is nothing more basic than baking a block of clay in an oven,” said Horace Havemeyer, Publisher of Metropolis. “Ginger Dosier’s idea is the perfect example of how making a change in an almost unexamined part of our daily lives can have an enormous impact on the environment.”

There are over 1.3 trillion bricks manufactured each year worldwide, and over 10% are made by hand in coal-fired ovens. On average, the baking process emits 1.4 pounds of carbon per brick - more than the world’s entire aviation fleet. In countries like India and China, outdated coal-fired brick kilns consume more energy, emit more carbon, and produce great quantities of particulate air pollution. Dosier’s process replaces baking with simple mixing, and because it is low-tech (apart from the production of the bacterial activate), can be done onsite in localities without modern infrastructure. The process uses no heat at all:mixing sand and non-pathogenic bacteria (sporosar) and putting the mixture into molds. The bacteria induce calcite precipitation in the sand and yield bricks with sandstone-like properties. If biomanufactured bricks replaced each new brick on the planet, it would save nearly 800 million tons of CO2 annually.

There's lots more on this story here.

realthog: (Default)

A report discussed by Joe Romm at Climate Progress presents some pretty stark information: during 2011, the three network evening news broadcasts spent a total of 32 minutes and 20 seconds on the single most important threat to US and global welfare, climate change.

I have no figures to back this up, but I'm willing to bet they spent more time during the year on stories about cats getting stuck up trees.

This is a shameful abnegation of responsibility by the networks and their paymasters, and explains every bit as much as the huge public misinformation campaigns mounted by the Koch Brothers, Exxon and the rest of that vile crew why the US population lags far, far behind those of the rest of the developed nations in understanding the reality of climate change and the urgent actions that need to be taken if we're not going to just sit back and watch our national economy -- not to mention many millions of Americans -- be destroyed.

Also shameful is that, as the article mentions, "The Obama administration has not discussed this issue at all." This administration, we'll recall, came into office promising to listen to science and act upon its results. Its record of keeping that promise is abysmal, but nowhere more dangerous than in the almost complete lack of action on climate change. This inaction is suicidal.

Enough of me. Romm's discussion, complete with some exceptionally useful links, is here.

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