Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Diversion - The Green Edition

Hey man, it's the trendy thing to do.

I didn't actually plan it this way, but some of the best stuff I've come across in the past month or so just happens to be dedicated more or less to preservation of our fair planet.

(Actually, the best piece I came across is about a Frenchman who wants to skydive from the stratosphere; a jump from as high as a hot air balloon will take you: a hundred and thirty thousand feet. "Somewhere around sixty-three thousand feet above the earth, our body fluids begin to boil. They do this not because the temperature is so high but because the atmosphere is so thin. Water, kept liquid by air pressure on earth, turns to gas as the pressure drops, bubbling noticably on the tip of the tongue. Physiologists call this altitude Armstrong's Line, after the Army Air Corps doctor who defined it, in the nineteen-thirties, and it may be the greatest barrier to our survival in space...But there are plenty of others...".

On the way up to 130,000 feet, the air pressure would "drop exponentially, until one-tenth of one percent of the atmosphere would remain. As he {the French Skydiver} fell, his body would accelerate almost as if it were in a vacuum". By the time he reached the previous level for the world's highest skydive {103,000 feet}, he'd be going "more than nine hundred miles per hour - one and a half times the speed of sound".

Of course, The New Yorker rarely makes their best articles available online, so you'll have to go out and buy the August 13th edition for yourself to find out why anyone would want to put themselves through something like this, and whether or not this guy has any chance of surviving {he hopes to make the jump this fall in Saskatchewan}. This article on its own is easily worth the $4.50 sticker price. A truly fascinating read.)


But before all of the good stuff, how about something fun... Something like... The Ron Mexico Name Generator! Yes, you too can create your very own alias for those embarrassing moments at the Sexual Health Clinic. If you ever hear of me referring to myself as "Little John Serbia", you may want to think twice about sharing your forty of OEA with me.


I'm not sure if I've linked to this article before, but it is one of the most thought provoking pieces you'll ever come across. It describes how Manhattan is one of the most energy efficient and environmentally responsible places in the world. It will make you proud to be a City Guy, and it will make you re-think the way you see things and the way we live.

Green Manhattan, by David Owen


Everything you need to know about the future, past and present of planet earth with regards to global warming and climate change, all rolled up into one fantastic little powerpoint presentation. Guy Dauncey was the keynote speaker at the Canadian Standards Association's 2007 Annual Conference, and this is his seminar. It will give you an idea of the direction in which our energy economy, by which I very much mean our planet, is heading. But it isn't all doom and gloom, as it offers a number of perfectly attainable and sustainable solutions to the problems we're currently faced with. Edutainment at its absolute best.

If you only have time to read one thing from this list, I highly recommend you read:

The Global Climate Crisis: What are we going to Do? by Guy Dauncey


A great short story about what happens in the event of a death-resurrection in a star; or more commonly known as a Supernova. This is climate change on a galactical scale, with the effects of global warming fast-forwarded at about 1,000,000x on the DVD player. The description of the ever increasing heat on earth is one of the most terrifying things I've ever read. Nightmares.

A Tranquil Star, by Primo Levi


And finally, a piece about bees. Yep, bees. They're very interesting. And we need them. Who knew?

This article gives you an appreciation for just how fragile our planet is, and how every little living thing has a critically indispensable role to play. It's poetic in a way we'll never fully appreciate or understand. I think that in itself is worth preserving, don't you?

Stung, by Elizabeth Kolbert

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