Science and the Environment

I’m here to set the record straight. Climate change, environmentalism, eco-friendliness, it’s all getting out of control. The political ticket of saying “we’re saving the planet!” is worth more to people than the scientific value of real, hard, peer-reviewed evidence.

I’ll spare you the science lesson, and skip straight to maths. A lightbulb uses 40-100W of power. In the UK, the power grid is split down like this:

  • nuclear: 19.26% @ 16 g/kWh CO2
  • coal: 33.08% @ 891 g/kWh CO2
  • gas: 39.93% @ 356 g/kWh CO2

This tells us that overall, we produce 16*0.1926 + 891*0.3308 + 356*0.3993 = 439.9752 g/kWh CO2. Figures from wikipedia and world-nuclear.

Ok, so if I run my 60W lightbulb (we’re talking standard, not ‘energy saving’ lightbulbs here) for one hour, I’ve used up 0.06kWh of electricity and it has cost the country 439.9752*0.06 = 26.398512 grams of CO2. Ok, sounds a lot for a single lightbulb to be producing in gas, but let’s compare this to the amount a single human breathes out in that same hour. Now, wikianswers says 2.4 grams per hour for a human being, and micpohling says 462.2916667 grams per hour for a cow (average of the four figures from the link divided by 24 hours in a day multiplied by 1000 grams in a kilogram). So a cow produces the same amount of CO2 as 17 and a half 60W lightbulbs.

There’s a statistic for you! Eating beef is good for the environment. Every cow you kill is the same as turning off 17 and a half 60W lightbulbs -forever-. Stick that in your vegetarian environmentalism pipe and smoke it!


First off, an update on my health situation. Well, it has worsened somewhat. I have developed, as has seemingly become my custom after periods of illness, agoraphobia. I am seeing the doctor about it next monday, hopefully I will get to the bottom of this in due course.

Now on the bright side, I got my netbook from ZaReason! It is everything I expected and about three times faster than I thought it would be. The webcam isn’t quite as high quality as I was expecting, but that’s no big deal really and the battery life is a bit shorter than I would’ve hoped but there’s not much can be done about that now.

There seems to be some minor shipping damage as well, the shift keys are a bit dodgy and the left speaker seems to have a loose connection or some interference or something. Thanks to the open hardware warranty, however, I can fix these myself or get a local shop to do repairs without having to send the thing back halfway across the world, probably picking up more shipping damage along the way.

Speed-wise, I couldn’t be happier, the Intel Atom performs exceptionally and the 2GB of RAM is barely used by Ubuntu Netbook Remix (about 200-300MB in use most of the time).

Also, the ‘book runs almost silent, drowned out by the noise of my typing on a keyboard whose own sound is drowned out by gentle background conversation. Even under heavy usage.

I’ve also set up Citadel groupware on my server to replace the postfix/dovecot solution, making it easier to share calendars and other stuff, and giving a more extensive web interface for local users. I will be looking at bundling Citadel with my SMART system when I get around to it.