We'll muddle through

After swapping out the power supply and CPU fan with higher quality models, one of my desktops is finally quiet enough to contribute to the SETI at Home. This project is a small way I can contribute to science without actually being a formal scientist myself. Once I quiet the other machine I have, I may set that to working on the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search.

Maybe I should leave the machines off. Together, they’ll consume about 300 or so watts as they tear through data during idle time. Doggone it! I have a network for a reason though. I can finally set these things to be development servers. Maybe even tack a server outside my firewall. Something I’ve been meaning to do for years.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about the small things we all do to help. I guess I’m thinking about the world. I don’t know if my friends are a representative bunch but, it seems like we’ve all entered this mode of quiet preparation. We roll our eyes cynically as governments and corporations stumble, pontificate and spin on the subjects of fossil fuels and global warming. Most of my friends have already drawn the conclusion that if the world is going to change, it’s the rank and file that are going to change it.

Think about it. Can we really imagine the current administration do something serious about fossil fuel exhaustion? Do we really want them to? Seriously. Mr. Bush seems pretty incompetent to me. Do we really want this guy to take on global warming? Can you imagine how he’d try to do that? The mind reels in horror!

I say don’t wait for him. Don’t wait for the government or the corporations to figure it out. Don’t even wait for Greenpeace or the Nature Conservancy to issue some statement or air a documentary or protest outside the UN.

You can get ready now. Get ready for the new world now. No, need to shout or write Congress. Just make changes in your own life.

  • Do you really need a car? I mean really. Telecommute. Mooch commutes off your friends. Ride a bike with cargo space. Move to a dense urban environment–suburbia sucks. Suburbia was a bad idea when it was invented back in the early Twentieth Century. Move to someplace with sidewalks.
  • If you need a car, buy a hybrid damn it! If you gotta have a truck for work, make it diesel.
  • Don’t have kids. Really. Don’t have kids. Think of some other way to leave your mark on the world. Take care of your friend’s kids. Take care of your family’s kids. Think of all the money you’ll save. It’s not selfish to not have kids. Ignore all the comments and funny looks.
  • If you gotta have a kid. Have only one kid.
  • Never buy new furniture. Never. If you need furniture, shop around for used furniture. Take or buy old furniture from your parents and friends–really, you’re doing them a favor.
  • Think about why you’re buying anything. Do you need it to survive? Is there some cheaper way to satisfy this desire. People have so much stuff now, they have cart it way in special boxes to stored. Why? Did they really need it?
  • Buy a lot less. I repeat it. Stop buying crap you don’t need. Wanna have fun? Visit your friends and use their crap. Go on a cheap vacation by train.
  • Eat a lot more fruits and veg. You don’t have to stop eating meat, just eat a lot more fruits and veg. Make sure it’s local.
  • Buy fluorescent and mix them with your incandescent. You’ll get the warm look for fewer watts.
  • Buy a lot less crap. Did I mention this?
  • Every major city has businesses which recycle and buy used computer hardware. Find these and use them. Never throw a piece of electronics in the trash ever again. I mean it.
  • Don’t worry about factory workers in developing countries recycling the heavy metals from your electronics. This is a big problem but it’s really for the big businesses and governments to solve. Not you. You’re doing your part by creating a supply, let someone else work out the process issues.
  • If you are a serious software gaming nerd, don’t buy complete systems. Build them yourself and upgrade them in a modular way. I think individual cards are easier to recycle than game consoles.
  • Why buy a house? Only buy a house if you plan to pass it on to someone and they promise to do the same, otherwise all you’re doing is renting long term, with no chance to collect the damage deposit if you croak.
  • Buy a used house. Upgrading it can be your new hobby. Have fun.
  • Anything new that you buy must be energy efficient and built to green design specs. Ideally with a corporate buy-back policy.
  • Stop subscribing to paper magazines. Ask if the publishers have a purely web or e-mail based way of sending you the magazine content.
  • Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. You know the drill. You’ve probably already heard of many yourself.
  • Oh, and buy a lot less crap.

In these small ways, the greenhouse gases will lessen. Fewer power plants will need to be built. Technology will continue to advance. Quietly the whole world will, with agonizing slowness, just move solar, wind, nuclear and tidal energy. Probably then people will be arguing about how fast and by what method should we remove the greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

We’ll muddle through. We always have.

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5 Responses to We'll muddle through

  1. Bakafish says:

    Um, if you buy a house you end up with a house. Why buy someone else a house by renting it? Hybrids are over rated as well, until there are really efficient Hybrids/Fuel Cell vehicles I would advise passing. Diesel and small displacement DFI forced induction gas engines are the way to go still.

  2. Bakafish says:

    Please add me to the approved poster’s list now.

  3. Bakafish says:

    So my problem with current hybrids is this:
    1) Their actual gas milage improvement is grossly distorted by the testing procedures that were never designed for the concept of hybrid technology. They get comparable milage to a good diesel with less performance and more expensive fuel.
    2) They pollute just as much if not more than any one of many pzev super low emission vehicles made by Ford, Honda and Volkswagen.
    3) The battery disposal/replacement issue is a factor that people don’t have a clear handle on.
    4) The additional cost is not offset by fuel savings.
    I’m not counting them out, I’m all for the concept and I’m glad that they are selling and are popular. But from a scientific point of view they are falsely green. Someone racing around in a ‘Bio-diesel’ powered torque monster can not only blow the doors off of a hybrid, (leaving a swath of deep fried food scent in their wake) they can do so knowing that they are really using post consumer waste and renewable fuel.

  4. Pace Arko says:

    Baka writes, “Hybrids are over rated as well, until there are really efficient Hybrids/Fuel Cell vehicles I would advise passing. Diesel and small displacement DFI forced induction gas engines are the way to go still.”
    Hybrids are a young technology, granted. If you want performance, my whining will fall on deaf ears anyway. So? Don’t buy a hybrid. Whatever.
    Surely there is something else you can think of to reduce your ecological footprint though, right? It doesn’t have to be your car.
    Baka writes, “Um, if you buy a house you end up with a house. Why buy someone else a house by renting it?”
    Good point. You could sell the house when you get old and the kids move away. Okay, scratch that. I’ll buy a condo instead though, once I get my finances stable enough to pay mortgage and land tax on it.

  5. Pace Arko says:

    As I said, it’s a young technology. Those Priuses and Insights are selling like hotcakes though, that’s undeniable. Maybe that will give Toyota, Honda and others the money they need to make hybrid technology better?
    I really don’t care personally. I don’t plan ever to have a car.
    I just discovered I’ll have to change my nick in typekey. It idents me as Mr. Farlops still.

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