Science & Technology

High. Low. It’s all good.

A newly published study (pdf) from the University of New South Wales and the University of California at Merced concludes that when compared to a carbon tax, a relatively unrestrained cap-and-trade system is economically advantageous. My first thought was that this is no news at all. The economic advantage of cap and trade - enabling capital to flow to the… read more →

Once again, why Europe is smarter

Results from a new Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study (pdf) on TV cable boxes revealed what we long suspected: Americans are a bunch of lazy couch potatoes. We kid, we kid. The study, funded by the EPA and conducted by the NRDC and Ecos, examined the energy consumption of set-top boxes. The results were “startling” though probably not new… read more →

Where the wind blows

This past weekend, I drove back to San Francisco having visited friends in Los Angeles. For months I had been looking forward to a little detour that Erin (our CEO) had suggested. A few months ago, she discovered this pistachio farm, and being the office pistachio connoisseur, I couldn’t think of a better way to break up my long drive.… read more →

Impacts of our changing climate

A couple of recent studies (see here and here) have highlighted the impacts of global climate change in a very real way. It seems that we are having more extreme weather than natural cycles might explain, and that our warmer climate is having a primarily negative impact on global food crop production. These studies are as important for what they… read more →

Farm of the future

The Native American tribes that hunted the plains between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains for most of the last millennium are often held up as models of wastelessness (a word I just invented) for, among other things, their innovation in using virtually every part of the animal. Those of us who saw Dances with Wolves will recall how… read more →

The guilty pleasure of reading

When I was a little girl, I read a stack of Berenstein Bears books every morning before I would do anything else -- and this was before I could officially “read.” This love of reading has persisted throughout my life. I almost always have a book with me nowadays, as my TerraPass colleagues can attest. Unfortunately, the business of publishing… read more →

Eco-friendly house-in-a-box

I guess good things don’t always come in small packages. It’s all the rage these days and it comes in - and out - of a box, delivered neatly to your doorstep. Well, technically, it gets delivered to your plot of land since you wouldn’t have a door yet. I’m talking about prefabricated houses, specifically the subspecies designed to use… read more →

No, we can’t predict the weather

One of my favorite global warming denier talking points is that “you can’t predict the weather!” OK, yes, it’s true: long-term weather forecasting is basically impossible because of sensitive dependence on initial conditions, aka the Butterfly Effect. To summarize the problem, (though you should really read James Gleick’s 1988 masterpiece Chaos: Making a New Science) in the 1950’s, a former… read more →

Three little questions

Dazzled by all the electric vehicle chatter on blogs and in the mainstream media, a few of us wandered down to Justin Herman Square in San Francisco to see what was billed by organizers as “the first all-electric car show to demonstrate the new technologies on the market.” The show featured only a plug-in Prius, a Volt, a couple Leafs,… read more →

Hottest decade ever. Best decade ever.

Last decade was the hottest on record. It was also arguably the best decade ever from humankind's standpoint. There's a clear tension here, but in my last post I uncritically accepted the proposition that the long-term future outlook for the world is generally positive, even if we are setting ourselves up for unnecessary misery from unchecked climate change. In this… read more →
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