Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Aliens Take One for the Team, Save Earth by Ramming Meteor

Image from Ning

After taking out a wind turbine in Lincolnshire in January, fears that the aliens weren't so keen on helping us out of our planetary predicament resurfaced. Hope springs eternal though - Fox News recently reported that Dr. Yuri Labvin, president of the Tunguska Spatial Phenomenon Foundation now thinks that a UFO deliberately crashed into a meteor above Siberia on June 30, 1908, saving all humankind. Is this (and there's no better way to put it) insane? Of course it is, but that doesn't stop an increasing number of people from demanding that the government use known alien technology to save us from ourselves. Press onward for the skinny on the latest turn of events.

The event that Dr. Labvin is referring to is the Tunguska event, a mysterious blast that downed over 80 million trees for 100 square miles. Eyewitnesses reported a bright light and a huge shock wave, but the area was so sparsely populated no one was killed. Occam's razor comes in handy here - most scientists think the blast was caused by a meteorite exploding several miles above the surface. But Labvin goes one step beyond, pointing to some quartz slabs with strange markings found at the site. Obviously, they are parts of an alien control panel which fell to the ground after the aliens hari-karied themselves into the giant rock. You know, when they killed themselves to save us. You still here?

Universe today puts quite a bit of this nonsense to rest. For starters, this isn’t the first time a UFO has been associated with Tunguska; in 2004, a different scientific expedition found a supposed "extraterrestrial technical device" at the site, but no subsequent reports or analysis were revealed. Assuredly it's in a huge Russian government warehouse next to the bright yellow surplus cheese. Lavbin says these quartz stones when put together form a map; maybe even... part of a navigational system of a spaceship. Universe today classifies this as sounding a little bit like pareidolia where random images seem significant - the man in the moon, the virgin mary on a piece of toast, that kind of thing.

We can be open to aliens saving the planet in a Jodie-Foster Contactesque kind of way and we should be; the scientific possibility must be acknowledged, remote as it is. But this latest event just seems like another "Technology Gone Wild" prayer that, terrestrial or otherwise, doesn't seem to hold a lot of water.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

In The Times

In the NYT today for the black web thing, watta trend!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

100% Organic Software?!?! Mozilla says yes.

The Mozilla corporation, creator of the Firefox web browser, has declared their software to be 100% organic. In a revealing interview with with Treehugger, Paul Kim, Mozilla VP, who helped launch Firefox 1.5 and 2.0., he explains why the term is relevant.

According Kim, Mozilla is not trying to create a new model. Instead, what they're trying to do is "to help new sets of people who know nothing about open source software quickly start to understand that Firefox is something different from the software they're currently using to access the Web. 'Organic software' is a concept we came up with that we thought would resonate with end users in ways that 'free software' doesn't. I think 'free software', at least in the US, doesn't carry the same valence that 'FLOSS' does in, say, Europe." For people in the open source movement, Kim, continues, the term 'organic' is a lot clearer and immediately graspable. "I think in the broader culture, and again I'm speaking of the US, the word 'free' gets filtered through a consumer lens. So yes, it's a terminology issue for end users - trying to communicate clearly what practitioners already grok."

Kim believes that Firefox both respects the user, but it also respects open standards, which create a level playing field for any individual/company/organization to create Web content for others. And it is a manifestation of Mozilla's core belief in the importance of providing vehicles for participation on the Internet.

"I think there is something more primal about open source," Kim continued "more primal than communism or capitalism. It is the ability for anyone who has the passion and knowledge to make things better. I think I would bore with you tales of what I've seen from the programmers I work with - heroic efforts to fix security issues that require all nighters. You don't' do that kind of thing if it's just a job."

PC Magazine Green IT Expo

Another event; had the opportunity to be a featured speaker at PC Magazine's Green Technology Online Expo. Need to register; it's worth it, the online interface alone is stunning.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

In The Post

This one is short and sweet, but it is the first time I have seen a media outlet mention that any site can go black. Thanks Post!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

In The Globe

The Boston Globe put out a special section in mid-November for all things green; I was interviewed for green tech. Catch my words on telecommuting and 84 ways you can help the planet.

Multifunction Printers Bridge the Digital Divide

Didja ever wonder why the paperless office never happened? It's no secret; the proverbial 'we' introduced a second data stream into the equation, the digital stream. So now we need to convert paper faxes into emails, emails into text, scans into images... you get the picture (yes, it's a pun.). Read The Myth of the Paperless Office to put the skin on the bones.Recently, multifunction printers (MFP) have been made available to provide one stop shopping for all these woes. These amazing devices can print, scan, copy, fax, email, and save files to your network, and act as an information hub to bridge the gap between your paper data and your digital data. There are dozens available; which ones are green? Unlike the typical green printer, the choice is not so simple.

First, look for a machine that does everything you need; if you do a lot of faxing you will want to spring for the fax-to-email functionality that some of these devices have, even though it will cost you more; the same goes for color printing. Neaty green features include sleep mode (turns itself off), a black only print mode (much cheaper than color), using solid stick ink, skipping blank pages, and recycling of ink cartridges. The Xerox Phaser Line is a good choice for these reasons; it doesn't have all these features but it does have a lot of them. More high end, but with better graphics and speed, is the Epson AcuLaser line which is also a good bet. :: Article Friendly :: Macworld

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Put This on Your Resume: Dell's Green Computing Competition

Dell has issued a global challenge to help its engineers design the world’s most environmentally responsible computing technology. The competition, which is endorsed by the Industrial Designers Society of America, is designed to invigorate the academic and industry dialogue regarding designs for environmentally responsible computing.

The competition is open to all, with a focus on students of universities and colleges that offer design programs. Dell is looking for ideas that demonstrate fresh approaches and responsible solutions for green computing technology.Targeted at the ReGeneration - that's you and me - finalists receive 10 large ($10,000); the best idea via popular vote receives another 15 large. Finally, if you are a student at a university and you win the popular prize, your university gets another 15 large. The submission period spans from January through April 2008; jury-selected finalists will be announced in May 2008.

If you are a CS major, an entry to this event is just something you have to have on your resume;
try a novel approach to telecommuting, redesigning a chip fabrication plant, maybe work on the next gen of the solar wifi project. Like the lottery, you have to be in it to win it. Entry details are available via Dell; winners will appear on their site in April where the public vote will also be recorded.::Wired

Tiny PCs - A Break From The Past

Several PC 'facturers are creating ecological history by inventing "Good Enough" computers that are extremely efficient when used in the proper niche. Barring the standard marketing model (ahem, above), these models aren't the newest, fastest, or even latest tech. But, they are the best use of electrons for certain applications. And that's green, refreshing, and novel.Exhibit A is the Eee PC line of sub-notebook computers from Asus.

The basic model has a 2GB of solid-state Flash storage (which eliminates the spinning hard drive) and a wee 256MB of memory. More "advanced" models have simply more storage and memory, and maybe a camera and a bigger battery. The simple, brass tacks design is the green element here; this is simply what the on-the-go roadie needs to check email, surf the web, do a little Skype, check a few Wikipedia entries. They all come with Linux but will operate with Windows if you have to; the middle of the road model is around £219 including VAT.

Fit-PC is another offering from CompuLab, an Israeli company that manufactures low power systems. The CPU is a modest 500MHz AMD Geode LX800 and the entire system, including hard drive and 256MB of main memory, uses only 3-5W of total power. At those levels, you could use a foot treadle to run it. The Extreme Tech review is fair and balanced; this thing isn't going to leap tall mountains, and in fact some things one might take for granted - like viewing Flash-intensive web sites and having six windows open at once - noticeably slow the equipment. But form factor, power savings, and cost carry the day, particularly for applications that requires always-on usage and a light duty applications mix. It's $285. :: The Register :: Extreme Tech

ecoIT Roundup

Here's a herd of facts and figures to keep the ecology-minded number-fumbler up to speed.

Energy used in hosting one eBay auction : 30 Watthours

Equivalent driving distance in a Prius: 420 meters

CO2 emissions of a single blog post at Sun Microsystems: 850 grams

Equivalent number of marathons run by an athlete to produce the same CO2 : 0.5

Percent of Global CO2 emission produced by data centers, as compared to all IT-related emissions: 23

Percent of data centers that will be out of power and cooling capacity by 2008: 50

Percent of energy that the typical business uses to support their computer infrastructure, as compared to their total energy bill: 4 to 10

Ratio of the amount of bandwidth used by the typical American home, compared to an office park of a few years ago: 1 to 1

Number of downloads of the YouTube video "The Evolution of Dance" to date: 54 million

Bandwidth equivalent, in months, of Internet data traffic in the year 2000: 1

Percent of IT 'bigwigs' who were 'clueless' about the amount they had spent on software in the past year, according to a recent Micro Focus study: 30

Number who had ever tried to quantify the financial value of their firm's IT assets: 50

::Sun ::GreenBang:: Greener Computing