Worst Cruise Ever? Scientists Predict That In 2050, Ships Will Be Able To Sail Directly Over North Pole.

North Pole signThe northern sea route, or trans-arctic passage, has been passable by ships for the last 7 summers and now comes information that the North Pole may be open to ship traffic by 2050. According to a report from Dr. Laurence C. Smith and Scott R. Stephenson, the shortest route connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans will be accessible in 2050 by ice-strengthened ships that can travel directly over the North Pole. From the Guardian:

“The scientists took two classes of vessels and then simulated whether they would be able to steam through the sea ice expected in seven different climate models. In each case they found that the sea routes opened up considerably after 2049.”

The recent opening of the Northern Sea Route, for ship traffic from Norway to China, has saved shipping companies between $230,000 – 400,000 in time and bunker fuel; crossing directly over the North Pole could save shipping companies an additional 40%. To counter these savings, putting a value on the “holy crap!” factor of sending ships over the North Pole in our lifetime is incalculable. Sailing over the North Pole should not be a goal – it should be viewed as an obstacle that needs to be avoided. [Guardian]

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Waste Solution For Not-Recycling Houston: One Trash Bin For All Waste.

Landfill
Laura Spanjian - City of Houston Sustainability DirectorHow do you get a city with a low 14% recycling rate and no enforceable recycling laws to start separating their trash and divert it from landfills?

You don’t…. you bring in some garbage sorting technology and let it do the work. The City of Houston knew it would be tough to educate and motivate their residents to separate their trash so they went out and found companies that process it for them. Spearheading the effort is Laura Spanjian, Houston’s sustainability director. From Fast Co.Exist:

“Spanjian’s dream system combines many of these technologies: It would take everyone’s trash in one bin and send it to a facility that pulls out every piece of recyclable material and separates out food waste. Recyclable commodities would be sold, and food waste would be turned into compost or put in an anaerobic digester to power facilities or trucks. Another portion of the waste would be turned into gasoline.”

Brilliant – put all the trash in one bin and let the specialized machines sort it. Much better than the alternative of sending all of the trash to landfills.

Here are some of the companies Ms. Spanjian found that can divert and reuse/recycle Houston’s trash:

“One company cited by Spanjian, Organic Energy Corporation, offers a one-bin waste sorting solution. A company called BHS operates a material recovery facility in San Jose, California–but it doesn’t deal with food waste. ZeroWaste can take care of that; the company operates anaerobic digesters to deal with food waste in the city. And CRI Catalyst Company–a Houston-based company–offers a technology that turn biomass into gasoline or diesel.”

Not all cities are like San Francisco – which diverts 80% of their trash from landfills. If Ms. Spanjian’s model is successful, other low recycling rate cities can copy and implement a scaled version of her system. Dog wags tail. [Fast Co.Exist]

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Submerged Art Installations And Sculptures Made From Our Marine Trash.

Forlane 6 Studio - Posidonia

Posidonia

Scuba artists Mathieu Goussin and Hortense Le Calvez built underwater art sculptures out of marine trash.

Forlane 6 Studio - Martini Effect

Martini Effect

Here is a portion of their artistic statement:

“In response to our time of alarming climate change, the work presents a deliberate immersion of the objects that compose our daily surroundings. The certainty that in a near future, global issues will bring disastrous consequences on the environment creates a disturbing atmosphere. However the mass production rate of artificial material seems unstoppable. It overflows well beyond land frontiers and the seas surface, as it penetrates the depth of a distant and foreign space.”

You can read the full artistic statement on the Forlane 6 Studio website.

[Read more…]

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Food Scrap Waste Bins At SeaTac Airport – Too Hectic To Use? Too Soon?

Food scrap recycling bins at SeaTac Airport.We recently went on a trip that took us through SeaTac Airport just outside Seattle. The kids had a blast doing kid things on the trip but my highlight was the food scrap bins in the airport. Food waste from restaurants is a significant contributor to the waste stream and creating ways to separate and recycle it is important. Here are the waste disposal options at SeaTac:

  1. Recycle: plastic bottles, cans, mixed paper etc.
  2. Food scraps: fruits, vegetables, french fries etc
  3. Trash: landfill bound.

Rather than dumping all of our food and food related trash into the landfill bound bin, to become future-methane, we now have the ability to divert our food waste to be recycled and turned into compost.

Unfortunately, as I trash-stalked, not a single person used the food scrap bins correctly. Some did recycle their plastic bottles and aluminum cans but most carelessly dumped all over their trash into the nearest of the 3 bins. The food scrap and aluminum/plastic recycling bins were basically the 2nd and 3rd trash cans.

Hopefully we’ll see more separate bins for recycling / food / trash in public places and people get used to the idea of separating their trash. Due to the inherent chaos of the airport, it might not have been the best place to install food scrap bins but then again, maybe the idea will strike a nerve with a few travelers who’ll bring it to their local airport and restaurants.

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Jubbling Porn: China Edition.

Jubbling Porn 1

Jubbling Porn 2

Jubbling Porn 3

Jubbling Porn 4

Jubbling Porn 5

(Disabling comments on this one)

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Jubbling + ABC’s Wipeout + Kid Birthday Party = Inexpensive, Fun And Memorable Celebration (Redux)

Planning a birthday party and want to keep it fun and on the cheap? Wipeout birthday is the way to go. From June 2012.

The Chunnel:  Lawn chairs with torn slip-n-slide on top.

The Chunnel: Lawn chairs with torn slip-n-slide on top.

My just-turned 9 year old son absolutely loves the ABC TV show Wipeout. He loves it so much that he will setup an obstacle course around our house and completing it is the last thing he’ll do before he goes to bed.

As the birthday party planner, I would normally go the “lets see a summer movie for your party” route because it’s easy to plan, lasts 2+ hours and I can sleep through it. This year, my kid wanted a Wipeout party and mom insisted we make it happen.

Wipeout Big BallsThinking about the details and the idea of corralling and keeping 7+ plus kids interested kept me awake the night before the party. How do you duplicate the Big Balls from the TV show? Then I realized that we just need keep it simple and we could reuse items we already own to create the course. So we thought of the things kids like to do/not do and we went through our house and yard looking for stuff to build the obstacle course.

The first obstacle was the dress up station where the kids had to put on a Farrah Fawcett wig, Army coat, pink-studded belt [all from our Halloween costume box and not my closet] and then do the hula hoop.

The grass is hot lava obstacle.

The grass is hot lava obstacle.

The next was the hula hoop (instead of tires) course that the kids had to run through, hop back and then run through again. The kids then had to traverse the rope crossing and not touch the grass – our poor man’s Big Balls. Four more obstacles completed the course.

After cake and presents, we had the kids run through it one more time and we added the water factor to complicate the course. Each race was timed and at the end, we gave small prizes to the winners. Total investment: about $25. We could’ve done it for nothing but we’re beginners as Wipeout party planners.

So if you’re planning a party soon, remember to keep it simple, accept help and try to reuse stuff you already own. It’ll Jubblingly keep the cost down and won’t affect the fun. And if possible, limit the party to 2 hours. Sub 10-year old boys can only keep it together for about that long before they start hurting each other.

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