The horse-powered household

If there is one thing that I consider separates our society for all others in the past, it is a profligate use of energy. It is the incredibly cheap (historically speaking), easily accessible, stored, high-grade energy that lets our society do the things we do at the scale we do it.

The huge populations that support huge and diverse cultures of people, the instant connectivity and the insane throughput of material resources we have, all would be impossible if we used and harnessed energy in the same way any human society did less than 200 years ago. Continue reading The horse-powered household

Farts per million

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

― Dalai Lama XIV

I always liked this quote, but felt it didn’t have enough data behind it. It’s fine to say that small things really can make a difference, but how small are these things really?

To find out we are going to need some way of measuring the things in question. We have ways of measuring weight, in grams, kilograms and tonnes (which is also called a megagram, but no-one calls it that). To be totally correct we would be measuring weight but calling it mass and using the units for mass, not weight. But we’re, like, not going there. At least today. Forget I said anything about mass. Continue reading Farts per million

Is there really a hole in the ozone layer?

Quite a few years ago whilst having a beer with my father in an Irish-themed Canberra pub and in discussion with a couple of former panel-beaters a statement was made that questioned the existence of a hole in the ozone layer. At the time I dismissed it as being a sort of weird fringe idea like faked moon landings or that full fat tasting skim milk exists.

It turns out that it’s not that fringe.

Continue reading Is there really a hole in the ozone layer?

Happy Birthday to me, I’m 0x20 years old!

This week I celebrated my birthday and I thought it would be fun to talk about binary and hexadecimal numbers. Yes that’s right, fun.

One of the thoughts first had when I thought I would write this blog was that less outwardly nerdy people might read it and work out what all those nerd were laughing at with their nerd jokes. Then again, most people aren’t interested in those kind of jokes. Continue reading Happy Birthday to me, I’m 0x20 years old!