Tuesday, December 30, 2008

For those who are NOT morning people...

Early to bed, early to rise
No damn good if you don't advertise!

Mick O'Mara, Dunmanway, Co. Cork.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Solar car finishes around the world trip

Looks normal enough from the front:
But needs a trailer of solar cells!

For more details of a trip around the world without any oil see http://www.solartaxi.com

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Idea for Bars/Resteraunts facing downturn

So the Christmas parties have been cancelled, people are buying the fixed price menu and the house wine. How can resteraunts boost their income?

How about attracting a new market. People who eat on their own but don't want to eat in a resteraunt on their own. Have a sitting every half hour and whoever wants to eat are put together on a table together. Very unbritish I know. But why not? The sell is you get cheap food, as cheap as eating at home, you don't have to dine alone and who knows who you might meet or what interesting conversations you might have. I would go just to meet new people but without the pressure of networking or the singles scene.

If you would go for this, there is a place in Broadgate ready to give it a try.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Saving the Planet - Not (rant)

I have great difficulty with all phrases that imply the planet is having any kind of problem and that we can save it. The planet is not dying, the planet has no need of saving, it is absolutely fine, hardly noticed we are here. It's been around for 4.5 billion years or so and will be around for billions more. The environment on it's skin is changing, as is has continuously changed since it's birth and whether we caused a slight warming or a few volcanoes were responsible makes little difference from the planets point of view. The planet, (and there are other ones as well) has been very hot and an very cold, it's had massive eruptions of volcanoes that have made the rain as acid as a car battery. And yet it just keeps spinning away and life on it's surface evolved to suit the ever changing conditions.

So let's get over ourselves. The plant is fine, it's us that are in trouble and imagining that we are such powerful beings that we can 'save' a whole planet if we choose is arrogant in the extreme. Maybe if we understood ourselves as part of a huge system that nobody controls but that we can all influence in a small way, we might find better ways of changing that which we can and adapting to that which we can't.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Posted on Forum for the Future Scenarios

Did a quick, and very favourable review, of Forum for the Future's Scenarios over on the Energy Scenarios Ireland blog.

Table built for me

‘Push’ Table by Jennifer Hing.

"As someone whose filing system consists mostly of using every horizontal surface I can find to deposit strata of tools, books, papers, components, etc, the utility of the Push Table resonates very much. I can even imagine building (adjustable) separators into the sloped section, to allow a primitive physical filing system to emerge (but see also Anna Harris’s Ifiltro, discussed below)."
Lots of great stuff about the way we really use items as opposed to what the designer had in mind on this page here http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/category/user-psychology/ but this table was just made for me!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How can you reduce your Toms?

As the result of an idea that two people had at the IT@Cork conference less than a week ago, a new website is launched today to help us visualise our carbon emissions and how we might reduce them.
The average European creates 10 tonnes of CO2 per annum. The average American, 20 tonnes. To avert the dangers of Climate Change, we need to drop our CO2 production to 1 tonne per person. Problem: What is 1 tonne of CO2? How do you visualise it? Answer: You don't! You change the metric. 1 tonne = 1 person's annual CO2 production. 1 average person. 1 Tom.
Have a look and join in the conversation and pass it on, especially to all your friends and relations called Tom!

Biofuels a transition fuel only

Pic from http://besustainable.com

Here is my argument:

The internal combustion engine is inherently inefficient, loosing more energy through heat and friction than it delivers to drive a vehicle forward. (see Electric v. Combustion engines) We don’t know what inventions will be transporting us around in 50 years time, but the likelihood that they bear much resemblance to a heavy lump of metal, generating heat and exhaust gases seems very unlikely. Therefore, any fuel which is produced with the intention of running a combustion engine are likely to have a limited life.

However, biofuels could be used to generate electricity. The question is are there circumstances where it is more efficient to grow, harvest, process and ‘burn’ a plant than to use wind, waves or sun to directly generate electricity?

Even though the future might be predominantly electric, there will always be niches. Butane Fuel Cells for small devices might replace batteries, and they can provide 20 times the run time of the current battery technology for the same mass. The choice would be recharge your device yourself anywhere you can plug it in or go and buy a butane charge for your fuel cell. Hmmm, think I’ll plug it in thanks and wait for the battery technology to catch up.

Wind, waves and sun are intermittent so some form of storage is required. Maybe biofuels will be best used for powering backup generation?

I’m not convinced of my own argument here, so hoping for someone to point out the flaws in it.

No iReal or Segway for me, I want a K9 to carry stuff


Last night I had delicious home cooked stir fry (thanks Flora) and maybe this is what stimulated my imagination as I tried to get to sleep. Been really bothered by the iReal and Segway. The idea that we might lose the use of our legs! I will keep walking. I enjoy walking, but I don't enjoy carrying a heavy bag with a computer, notebook, papers and goats milk. So here is what I want.

I want a K9 (the mechanical dog on Doctor Who), maybe a bigger breed than the one on Doctor Who, who will follow me faithfully wherever I go carrying all the gumpf that normally weighs down my shoulders and pockets. If I get a bit tired with all that walking, I can sit on K9 and he will provide with with, in winter, a nice cup of team, and in summer, a nice cup of tea. He will wait patiently outside the shop, guarding my purse and shopping and will come to the till, when summoned, to pay and pick up the shopping. When I get on the bus, he will hitch himself to the rear of the bus and recharge himself as he is pulled along. In the unlikely event that he runs out of battery (he warns me if his power is getting low and can curl up in the sun to recharge himself from his solar cells) he can can either turn tortoise and wait to be retrieved or throw out a handle to be wheeled home. He will also make life much less stressful by making sure I don't leave the house without the keys or some fresh goats milk and will make sure I take the keys out of the lock and put the goats milk back in the fridge when I get home.

City K9s would be more elegant than country K9s, that would be expected to negotiate mud, ditches and electric fences carrying buckets of feed, bales of hay and fencing posts. Evening K9s would be small chic little things, a fashion accessory, only required to carry purse, keys and lipstick. Special St. Bernard K9s would carry and, if required, entertain small children... Okay got to finish this off and do some real work.

Of course, in the future we will not be carrying paper because we will finally have epaper and we will be doing all our computing on our mobile and the shops will be delivering to our home and medical science will have found a way to get rid of my intolerance of cow's milk. But I still fancy a K9.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Please put dates on web pages!

I know sites want to appear as though they have been recently updated, but at least news items could put a date. Many do, but there are still a lot that don't. This article on mini-cars for example, http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/11/1117_japan_minicar/index_01.htm
includes the totally unhelpful text "...they fell 6.2% in October..." and "In 1997, kei accounted for 24% of Japan's total auto sales; this year, the figure will be 35%." No help in the URL either. Anyone else share this gripe?