without irony.

"You can't make somebody understand something if their salary depends upon them not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Going green step #3: Switching to CFLs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are more energy efficient bulbs. A 13-watt light bulb is the equivalent of a 60-watt regular light bulb. It's still not the most efficient light bulbs of all; I believe LEDs are more so, but they're expensive. Even CFLs are more expensive but maybe the energy savings will pay off.

Only thing is that the light bulbs contain mercury, and there has been controversy about whether these kind of light bulbs will create an environment problem of a different kind. If you are thinking of switching, you should check out this website, and definitely be careful about how you dispose it in general.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Going green step #2: Unplugging appliances

I'm going around unplugging the power strips and anything that I usually leave on standby but leave plugged in. I'm also doing my best not to use the AC. Sometimes I just use it to block out noise but I should try to do away with some comfort.

Going green step #1: Renewable energy

I'm not sure if I'm the only one that's clueless about this, but I just found out from my utility website that I can switch to green power (wind, hydro, etc.) In fact, there were a bunch of companies that were doing it. The websites were more complicated than they should be, and many of them gave me error messages, unfortunately.

In the end, I switched to Sterling Planet, which does wind and hydro power. It's not immediately clear where to find it on the ConEd website, so make sure you go to this page.

Really, everyone should check out their utility companies and do their best to switch to green power that uses renewable resources if you can.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Movie review: Wall-E

Directed by Andrew Stanton

Pixar has been consistently putting out good movies ever since it starting releasing feature length films. At the very least, they tell good stories that balance out enough its storytelling to appeal to young and old alike. For me, while I've always thought Pixar was a cut above the rest, there are always some parts of Pixar films that make me go "Oh, that's cute but kinda silly." I didn't get into Cars, and even with Ratatouille, it bordered on the silly for me. That's why it's such a pleasure to say that Wall-E has exceeded all my expectations, and then some.

Wall-E is a movie the overflows with beauty; and not only in the visual sense, but on every level. It tells the story of a lonely garbage compacting robot who was left to clean up the mess that was left by humankind. His only companion is a cockroach and his endless sense of curiosity. Eventually, he runs into Eve, a robot probe that was sent out to discover whether Earth has become livable again. This has been Wall-E's only contact with "life" and, with boundless love, he pursues it to the ends of the galaxy.

It's amazing that the first half of the movie has almost no dialogue in it. At times it feels like you are watching something like Fantasia, where visual and music in combined to tell a compelling story.

It is also Pixar's most political movie to date. For the most part, there isn't a whole lot of commentary in the other Pixar films. They usually comment on small stuff like family relations, friendships, and so on. But Wall-E comments on the grand scale, and serves as a warning on pollution and environmental destruction gone uncontrolled. Moreover, it is a remark on human apathy, and how we can take control and make a difference. Knowing that Al Gore is on the Board of Directors at Apple, I'm surprised I didn't see Al Gore make an appearance. There are even elements of Huxley's Brave New World in it, to say that if we take a moment to snap out of it and see the world for what it is, we can truly feels its beauty.

Wall-E also takes a jab at corporatism, which is ironic considering that it's being distributed by Disney, which rivals McDonald's as the symbol of corporate conformism. I wonder how many pick up on that.

I have a feeling that Wall-E's impact would be significant. As I felt walking out of the theater, I felt as if I've watched something historical. Maybe it'll just be the first animated film to win Best Picture at the Oscars, or maybe because this will get some people thinking more deeply about the environment, about human rights, and about the future.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I F-ing Hate Wal-Mart

During my cross country drive this week I was forced into getting an oil change at Wal-Mart. I thought I knew how evil they really were, but during my hour long visit they surpassed all of my wildest expectations of evilness and they tried to steal $24 from me.

read more | digg story

Mercedes to go Green. ALL Green. No Petroleum by 2015.

In less than 7 years, Mercedes-Benz plans to ditch petroleum-powered vehicles from its lineup. Focusing on electric, fuel cell, and biofuels, the company is revving up research in alternative fuel sources and efficiency.

read more | digg story

Volcanoes could supply up to 25 per cent of US power needs

As fuel prices soar, Alaskan officials announced the exploration of the state's volcanoes, saying they could be exploited to provide energy for thousands of homes.

read more | digg story