A recent Science Weekly Podcast: The God Species by Mark Lynas , caught my attention.
Mark Lynas appears to be a “green” activist who has achieved a startling degree of moderation.
In the interview he discusses Nuclear energy (vs. fossil fuels) and Genetically Modified Crops.
For several years now I have seen the Genetically-Modified-scare as equivalent to the Global-Warning-scare, because they share the same foundations.
Disclaimer: This blog is about Clear Thinking, so relax your mind for a moment.
About 11,000 years ago the earth came out of an ice-age – erroneously called “The Last Ice Age”, but more correctly called “The Latest Ice Age”. The Great Wisconsin Ice Sheet began to melt, a single example of a process duplicated all around the world. Humans began cultivating crops and, as Isaac Asimov pointed out, that led to civilization and the need to protect assets; hence war.
So for the past 11,000 years the earth has been in a warming trend. Globally.
Don’t let the two words “Global Warming” scare you. The earth has been getting warmer for 11,000 years, and it started long before gas-guzzling SUVs came on the market.
Humans began harvesting seeds from grasses, perhaps carrying a few seeds with them and planting them in new ground as populations grew and young marrieds moved out to the suburbs. Yes, it was happening 11,000 years ago!
Some crops would do better than others. Perhaps your seeds came from a slightly different region than mine, so hey! Can I have some of your seeds please?
With very little science at hand, humans accidentally(?) selected seeds from those crops that gave high yields, and ignored seeds from crops with low yield.
Nothing new here. Darwin said it all. But humans were now accelerating evolution by aiding natural selection with un-natural selection (unless like me you consider humans to be a perfectly natural outcome of natural selection).
The bread you eat today comes from wheat that, one hundred years ago, was wheat that had been selected over thousands of years.
Our ancestors practiced genetic modification, through seed selection, and that’s how your great-grandmother, grandmother and mother ate bread.
Everything we eat today has been modified genetically. It’s only in the last 20 years or so that humans donned white coats to do the deed, and have accelerated the process by using chemistry to splice stuff.
If you want something to worry about, worry not about Genetically Modified crops (and animals).
Worry instead about Bio-Diversity; with your friends and your local members of parliament discuss the impact of humans becoming reliant on just a half-dozen strains of wheat, on just a half-dozen strains of corn, on just a half-dozen strains of cattle.
Consider a world with only six breeds of dogs, including work- and pet-dogs.
How do you feel about that?
Today’s Toronto Star promises a video to show you how to build an air-conditioner for $20.
Without giving away any secrets, the deal consists of a foam cooler and an electric fan.
The fan blows air through a large hole cut in the lid of the cooler. The air blows across ice in the cooler. Cool air comes out of a second hole in the lid of the cooler.
The electric fan is powered by electricity. What else?!!
The electricity drives a motor on the fan, which is right here in the room we are trying to cool.
- Electricity is a form of energy.
- All energy degrades to heat.
So running an electric fan in a room is, truly, pumping heat energy into that room.
Can you say “Duh!”.
(As an aside, this is why the Hippie revolution of the late 60’s got it wrong when they suggested just leaving the fridge door open to cool an apartment).
A Real Air Conditioner
A real air conditioner works by pumping heat energy from the room to the outside.
And the pump is outside the room.
That’s why the box-like cooler in your apartment window is blowing hot air onto the balcony, including the heat energy that comes from the electric motor.
That’s why the heat exchanger sits outside the house, with a decent gap between the exchanger and the wall of the house.
That’s why … Oh Never Mind!