Digital Dim Sum » Can virtualization save the real world?

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The Big Prize goes to the right person

Congratulation to Al Gore for winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the climate changes. Apple pays tribute to its board member. (Don't think I've forgiven you over the iPhone update debacle yet, Apple. I have not!)

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Gentlemen – Let’s start your smear campaign!

I am surprised that it lasts as long as it did. So finally the personal attack started on Al Gore. The Tennessee Center for Policy Research accuses Al Gore of hypocrisy over energy usage at his mansion.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh)
per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured
nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

20 times the national average? OH MY GOD!

Hang on though, I believe his 20 rooms mansion is rather large and the national average home is a lot smaller than his. May be not 20 times smaller, but certainly not comparable.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than
twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses
in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s
average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

WOW this is getting worse!

Again, let's take the figures from this paragraph. 22619 X 12 = 271,428, which is comparable to the 221,000 kWh annual usage mentioned before.

This just shows how statistic can be phrased to make you think the figure is worst than it is. And remember, by definition 'Average' implies there are less and more in the whole data set, so picking up on the extremes are like claiming everyone is average. Life doesn't work this way.

The more important omission from their short report are:

  • How many people occupy and use this mansion? How does the energy consumption per person at Al Gore's mansion compares to the 'national average'?
  • How is Al Gore's mansion compares to other similarly sized, private properties?

And the question for all the people out there (critics and proponents): Even if Al Gore is a hypocrite, what have you done or been doing to reduce your carbon emission?

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Top 50 Things To Do To Stop Global Warming

Global warming is a dramatically urgent and serious problem. We don't
need to wait for governments to solve this problem: each one of us can
bring an important help
adopting a more responsible lifestyle: starting from little, everyday
things. It's the only reasonable way to save our planet, before it is
too late.

Here is a list of 50 simple things that everyone can do in
order to
fight against and reduce the Global Warming phenomenon: some of them
are at no cost, some other require a little investment but can help you
save a lot of money, in the middle-long term!

Via globalwarming-facts.info

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Save the energy, Save the world

Typical bulb = 100w, a Compact Fluorescent Light bulb that outputs the same amount of light =
23w, a difference of 77w. Multiply that number by total # of US
Households (~120 million) & you can see that if every home switched
out 1 bulb, then we would save about 9.24 Billion watts of electricity
per kw/hour – Enough energy to curb emission levels of nearly 800,000
cars
.

(via Digg & Energy Star)

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QotD: Things I’m Truly Passionate About

What are the things in life that you're truly passionate about? 
Submitted by Jess.

From now and for the foreseeable future, Climate Crisis and Atheism.

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Is it economic to be green?

After the Stern Review was released last week (more analysis here), BBC News message board is asking readers whether they are willing to pay green taxes. After reading a fair amount of the comments (~5 pages worth) I was dismayed that many BBC readers either think the review is just another British government way to tax the population, or climax changes are not scientifically proven, or worse still, admitted defeat because the small nation of Britain can't change the global climate so let's carry on as normal.

For the sceptics, why do they constantly asking for proofs? Does the IPCC reports proof enough? No. Do all the thousands of scientific papers on the subject enough? Apparently not either. I think it is because climate science (just like any science, really) is complex and the answers to any complex questions will inherently complex. But yet, most people are looking for the simple answer to ever more complex questions, in life or in anything.

As for those who don't want to pay the green taxes. They are the very same group of people that make me leave that country without regret. They want the best of both worlds, they want the cake and eat it. They complain about how bad the NHS is but yet don't want to pay the tax increase needed to modernize and reorganize the NHS. They just want their free health care. They complain about the state of the education system but yet do not want to pay tax that would raise teachers salaries or increase number of teachers. And with the green tax, apparently taxing the people who drive SUV/4×4 to deliver their kids to school is not right because their big car is 'essential' to their life.

Does having a conscious play no part in their decision making? Do we need the intervention of the Vatican church (or any religions for that matter) before the majority of the Earth's population will take notice? As much as I dislike religion as an organized movement, if that's what it will take to avert the upcoming climate crisis I am all for it.

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The Truth Hurts – Part II

So An Inconvenient Truth is opening this weekend in U.K. The only thing I'll write about this time is a quote from the BBC Online review:

"In 39 years, I have never written these words in a
movie review, but here they are: you owe it to yourself to see this
film," wrote Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times.


"If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to."

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The Truth Hurts

Leah and I watched the An Inconvenient Truth on 4th of July with a couple of friends. It was both nothing new and revelation to me. Nothing
new because all the facts Al Gore presents in the movie, I've
previously read in New Scientist
over the course of perhaps a decade. Revelation because having Al Gore
summarised all the facts and evidences in a coherent argument brings a
much greater impact than each individual items.

Definitely a must see movie of this decade, along side Syriana, and Fahrenheit 9/11.

As for how carbon neutral we are, using the Carbon Calculator,
Leah and I are both emitting less than the national average (9900 for
me, 13000 for Leah, US national average is 15000 pound/year). This is
still much higher than I thought we are emitting, taking into account
of us not owning a car and having a very small electricity bills. The
majority of our emission is from the trans-Atlantic flights that we
take to UK every year. I guess we just have to cut down our European
visit in the name of saving the planet!

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