Archive for the ‘environment’ Category
I happened upon Last Chance to See online, and being a big fan of Douglas Adams’ previous works I thought I would quite like to read it. There is also a BBC radio program for which this book is an accompaniment and a follow up by Stephen Fry – also aptly named Last Chance to See, which I will now need to seek out.
Adams and Mark Carwardine go off on an adventure to visit some of the most endangered species of animals, some which are well known – the White Rhinoceros – and others which I had not heard of – the Kakapo – or had not know that they where on the verge of extinction – the Yangtze river dolphin. They discover that there are species of plants and animals that their numbers can be counted on one hand.
They look like humans, they move like humans, they hold things in their fingers like humans, the expressions which play across their faces and in their intensely human-looking eyes are expressions that we instinctively feel we recognise as human expressions. We look them in the face and we think, “We know what they’re like,” but we don’t. Or rather, we actually block off any possible glimmering of understanding of what they may be like by making easy and tempting assumptions.
A humorous book, from a great author, discussing the plight of many animals and their struggle to exist with their human overlords.
Image source: Amazon
Last Saturday I was invited to go to a Physical Security Workshop organized by Independent Films to promote the movie Flypaper. The workshop was given by Thomas Hackner of Hackner Security Intelligence, an independent security auditing company.
The workshop started with a large amount of statistics on the current rates of crime in Austria, and a discussion of the methods by which property crimes are commited. Next there was some practical analysis of the security measures which are currently implemented in securing different classes of objects – houses, office, secure facilities, etc – and the various security measures that are implemented to ensure a certain level of security.
And as with any workshop there was a destructive and non-destructive practicum for most of the items discussed: windows, doors, locks, chains and social engineering. Besides from lockpicking and designing tools to circumvent security non-destructively, we also got to break into a door by destroying the lock and manually manipulating the locking mechanism.
It was great fun!
Image source: Daniël W. Crompton
I saw 8 Geeky Ways to Save Gas and at the section “Use GPS or mapping tools” I read this:
“It may sound obvious, but think of how much gas you waste driving around when you’re lost or trying to find a parking garage. Map out your route in advance to devise the shortest route (rather than the fastest one), which can also put you on secondary roads where you’ll drive more slowly—another gas-saving benefit. Some GPS units also let you program them to pick routes that avoid toll roads, where you can burn gas idling in line.”(emphasis mine)
It doesn’t sound that obvious that taking the shortest route is more efficient than the fastest route. Apparently somebody else thinks the same with their patent “Method and system for calculating least-cost routes based on historical fuel efficiency, street mapping and location based services“:
“The system will determine the best of all calculated routes based on the vehicles estimated MPG, historical data and efficiency in traversing various terrains. In one example, a vehicle towing a heavy trailer would consume fewer MPG if it took a longer but more flat route while the same vehicle without the extra weight would achieve better MPG by going a shorter route over more hilly terrain. This method would produce the best MPG rating for a given trip. With this new system in place, the driver will be able to query a mapping software program product that is based on optimal gas mileage rather than on speed or distance alone.”
“The most efficient roads are often those where you can drive at a fairly slow, constant speed, without having to stop or suddenly accelerate or decelerate,” Dr Ericsson told New Scientist magazine.