Sustainability, Not Fear: What CFCs Can Teach Us About Beating Climate Change

Oct 28th, 2015 | By | Category: Energy, Environmental, Featured Articles, Lead Article, Science and Society

Cliff Mass (meterologist, and a smart man with a consistently different take on global warming issues), makes an interesting point in a recent post: By focusing on global warming as a moral issue (and from his perspective, using scare tactics about the weather to promote concern) environmental activists are failing to convince the public to […]

Yet Another Reason to Dislike CFLs: Horrible Power Factors

Apr 9th, 2009 | By | Category: Dear Science Column, Environmental

Many of you already know of my skepticism of compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Now utilities are joining in the hate: CFLs use about twice as much energy than previously claimed. Lightbulbs, TVs, ovens, baseboard heaters–whatever–draw energy from alternating current with varying degrees of efficiency, due to the funkiness of alternating current. Allow me to explain, by […]

Making the Hard Choices for Energy

Mar 19th, 2009 | By | Category: Environmental, Nukes

We’re well past the point of being able to consider only the most pleasant energy sources. Looking at the number of people on the planet, and the increasingly dire reports of damage caused by the burning of fossil fuels, we need to be realistic. These steps, by the scientific community and the Obama administration, are heartening steps in what seems the right direction.

The Carbon Impact of Reading On Paper or Online

Feb 13th, 2009 | By | Category: Dear Science Column, Environmental, Featured Articles

Is reading The Stranger online actually any greener than reading the printed-in-Yakima hard copy? It was time to roll up my sleeves and do some real, primary, research on the question. Allow me to show my work.

Climate Change: Irreversible

Jan 28th, 2009 | By | Category: Environmental, Featured Articles, Lead Article

The optimistic among us assume that, eventually, new technology or new political movements will stop carbon release into the atmosphere. One of the comforting assumptions about climate change is that the effects of humans putting carbon into the atmosphere can be reversed. Plants remove carbon from the atmosphere, right? So, if we just stop adding more, eventually carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere should drop, and the adverse climate changes should reverse.


How Civilization is Going to End

Jan 8th, 2009 | By | Category: Environmental

Wonder no more. University of Washington climate scientist David Battisti looked at 23 of the best computational models of the climate available to predict the effect of climate change on global crop yields by the end of this century. The results? Our results show that it is highly likely (greater than 90% chance) that growing […]


Aug 31st, 2008 | By | Category: Environmental, Featured Articles, Lead Article

The second “storm of the century” is about to hit New Orleans, less than five years after the first “storm of the century.”

That should make you wonder.

Purdue LED Us to More Efficient Lighting, Less Mercury

Jul 21st, 2008 | By | Category: Environmental

Longtime readers know of my aversion to compact fluorescent lightbulbs. LED (light emanating diodes) have a similar energy efficiency to fluorescent bulbs with a far friendlier environmental impact, but much higher cost as they currently require sapphire. Purdue scientists have figured out a way around this problem.

You Don’t Understand Fuel Economy; Blame MPG

Jun 20th, 2008 | By | Category: Environmental

Assuming you drive the same miles per year, which change will save more gas in a given year: * Switching from a Dodge Ram at 13 MPG to a Toyota Tundra at 15 MPG * Switching from a Honda Fit at 32 MPG to a Toyota Prius at 44 MPG. (Mileage figures are from Consumer […]

Antarctic Winters, Not So Wintery Anymore

Jun 17th, 2008 | By | Category: Environmental, Nukes

From the ominously titled European Space Agency press release, Even the Antarctic winter cannot protect Wilkins Ice Shelf: Wilkins Ice Shelf, a broad plate of floating ice south of South America on the Antarctic Peninsula, is connected to two islands, Charcot and Latady. In February 2008, an area of about 400 kmĀ² broke off from […]