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IKEA makes the switch to LED bulbs – but Americans still don’t know about them

This week IKEA announced they plan to sell only LED bulbs by 2016, becoming the first furniture retailer in the United States to do so.

A round-up of the stories covering this:

The total annual cost saving (including purchase price and energy consumption cost) of switching one incandescent 40W bulb to a corresponding LED bulb, is about $6.25. – Earth Techling

While the high cost of non-traditional lighting may be prohibitive for some, the company says that it will “be selling the LED bulbs at the lowest price on the market” (IKEA’s cheapest LED bulb currently starts at $9.99). – The Verge

But what most Americans (about 73%) don’t know is that LED bulbs last 20 years, incandescent bulbs, by contrast, last only about a year. – Daily Finance

IKEA said the effort fits in with its phase-out of plastic bags in 2007 and incandescent bulbs in 2010. – Market Watch

 

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Historical World War II air map – Denver as the center of the universe

To understand this map, think of Denver as the center of the universe. Created during World War II when airplanes were becoming common. It was an “air age” that shrunk the world down to flyable chunks, and new maps were created to show distance – in one tank of gas or two.

 

From Mapping the Nation

 

source: Mapping the Nation

Fruit of the season

I’m an emotional person. The kind that says I love this when I find something good to eat. I have to tell everyone about it – saying I’ve found my fruit of the season. The one item I can eat every day, all day and feel perfectly content. Last month it was watermelon and this month it’s the pomegranate.

This can only happen at the farmers market where seasonal food comes and goes like travelers at an airport. At first there’s just a few of them, the farmers doing an early harvest to get a jump on their neighbors. Then the crowd rushes in and everyone is selling it. For a few weeks you’ll find it everywhere and then it’s gone.

There’s a science and a history to this. It goes back centuries and is in our genes. We are made to live off the land and follow the seasons – which until recently meant watermelons in summer and pomegranates in fall. For every month there was an ideal food, but then airplanes came along and brought us South American watermelons in February.

And here is where most would talk about food miles or unsustainable practices, but those are secondary to health. Eating out of order disrupts our natural pattern of eating with the seasons – one perfectly suited to our bodies. That allows the bacteria in our gut to squeeze every last bit of nutrients out of food. Like little factory employees working overtime. And when that food is done another shift of workers comes in for the next food item.

The biology behind this starts in our guts where the bacteria live. They break down our food into essential items, like proteins and carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. And the more you feed them the more they grow, getting more efficient each time. Which means you can eat less and get more out of it.

And when I eat those watermelons and pomegranates, I get even more. They are peak of the season, so filled with nutrients that I can eat one and feel full for hours. Which prompts, “that’s all your going to eat,” or “all you had for lunch was watermelon?”.

Yep, I’m following the seasons.

 

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PBS fights back – Americans love PBS and we have the stats to prove it

Don’t anger PBS or they will come at you…with numbers and facts. Here is the PBS response to Mitt Romney’s threat to cut their funding during the Denver Presidential Debate:

We are very disappointed that PBS became a political target in the Presidential debate last night. Governor Romney does not understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers to our nation.

  • Two-thirds of voters oppose cuts to funding.
  • 91% of American households watch PBS.
  • 81% of children aged 2-8 watch PBS.
  • A poll shows Americans think PBS is second most important use of public funds, after national defense.

They also say PBS cost each taxpayer $1.35/year, and for every federal dollar they raise another $6 from private sources. Could that be why Mitt thinks they can do without public funds?

All in all, I think Mitt would likely take back his PBS threat, if given the chance. Public Broadcasting is like the national parks, overwhelmingly supported by the public.

But don’t stop there, PBS has an entire website dedicated to this issue – ValuePBS.org - with more facts:

  • PBS has a larger audience than HBO, Discovery, Bravo.
  • 91% higher rating than CNN for news, public affairs.
  • 236 million Americans watch PBS every year.
  • 145 million stream PBS content on the web.

 

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Apple remembers Steve Jobs on anniversary of his passing with video and CEO letter

One year ago on October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs passed away. The previous day Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S.  The company has gone on to become the most valuable in the world, but many still think about the man and his achievements.

Today Apple is paying homage to its founder with this heartfelt video and a message from Tim Cook.

 

 

A message from Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

Steve’s passing one year ago today was a sad and difficult time for all of us. I hope that today everyone will reflect on his extraordinary life and the many ways he made the world a better place.

One of the greatest gifts Steve gave to the world is Apple. No company has ever inspired such creativity or set such high standards for itself. Our values originated from Steve and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We share the great privilege and responsibility of carrying his legacy into the future.

I’m incredibly proud of the work we are doing, delivering products that our customers love and dreaming up new ones that will delight them down the road. It’s a wonderful tribute to Steve’s memory and everything he stood for.

- Tim

 

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San Onofre nuclear plant update – one unit to turn on, another to stay off permanently

Yesterday Southern California Edison submitted plans to restart one of its two nuclear generators at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). The other generator is being shut down permanently. Both units showed radioactive damage and required repairs.

Unit 2, the generator that will be turned on, had six tubes showing extreme decay, and 1,600 overall with some decay. Unit 3, which will remain shut down, had 381 showing extreme decay, and 1,800 with some decay. Edison reports that a team of independent experts inspected these repairs and approved the plan to turn on Unit 2. These plans were submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and are awaiting approval.

If accepted Unit 2 will run for five months at 70% power, and then turn off for “inspection of the steam generator tubes to ensure the continued structural integrity of the tubes, to measure tube wear and to confirm that the solutions are working.” At the same time, Edison plans to defuel Unit 3, which “refers to the carefully executed transfer of fuel from the reactor into the spent fuel pool in a strong, reinforced building where it is secure and constantly monitored.”

This is a “longer term outage mode” and there are no plans to bring it back online “in the near future”.

In a separate release from a review started two years ago, Edison plans to downsize the staff at SONGS by 730 employees, a 33% reduction. The press release said this was for achieving greater efficiencies like other nuclear plants. But there was also a mention of the financial losses at the plant due to the shutdown, and a reference to Unit 3 that “will not be operating for some time.”

There is a public meeting about this information scheduled for October 9 at 6pm in the St. Regis Hotel in Monarch Beach. There will also be a live stream of proceedings available at video.nrc.gov – starting one hour before the meeting. The official pdf notice of the meeting and a blog post with updates and comments.

***

More information can be found at SongsCommunity.com and by following the SONGS twitter account.

 

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The top 5 moments from the Denver Debate – in tweets per minute

10.3 million tweets were sent during the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. That is 114,000 tweets per minute (tpm) and shows that Americans were paying attention. Here are the moments that generated the most discussion, from the Twitter Blog:

  1. 159,000 tpm – Jim Lehrer quips – “Let’s not”
  2. 153,000 tpm – Obama – “I had five seconds”
  3. 150,000 tpm – Discussion of Medicare
  4. 140,000 tpm – Romney spars with Lehrer over rules
  5. 138,000 tpm – Obama calls Romney plan – “never mind”

And, #6 was Romney mentioning Obamacare, #7 was the Big Bird incident.

 

source: Twitter Blog

 

This was the most tweeted about political event in history, and there are more three debates. The Vice Presidential debate is next Thursday, October 11, 2012.

For analysis on real-time debate conversation, visit:

Paleontologist discovers tiny terrifying dinosaur – beak of a parrot, fangs of a vampire

Dr. Paul C. Sereno, a paleontologist at University of Chicago has discovered a new dinosaur, from The Register:

A two-foot long dinosaur with the beak of a parrot, teeth of a vampire and covered in some sort of bristly quill stuff…the Pegomastax africanus scampered around the earth 200 million years ago.

Called Pego, and judging by the illustration, the beast was terrifying with fangs in its beak and sharp quills down it’s back. But it would have weighed less than a house cat and was a herbivore – speculation is that the fangs were for fighting during mating competitions.

The fossil was surprisingly well preserved in volcano ash, allowing Dr. Sereno to study the bristles in addition to the bones. And the reason for this discovery is the Doctor finally pulled the fossil out of his desk drawer. It had been sitting there for 50 years collecting dust. Now, he is moving on to the second drawer.

My Manifesto – the Zeitgeist of sustainability

This will be the fifth manifesto I’ve written. And every one of them has had a noble goal and ambitious hopes. I like to shoot for the stars and see where I end up.

My goal is to be the Zeitgeist of sustainability.

Zeitgeist - “the spirit of the times” or “the spirit of the age.”

- the defining spirit of a particular period as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.

I want to create a spirit of sustainability that spreads across this country. An idea that people can believe in and feel proud of. And this goes beyond Republican or Democratic differences. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Texan in a drought or a New Englander in a Prius. We can all agree on sustainability.

But we don’t agree and that’s the problem. There are too many messages out there and each one points in a different direction. Leaving us in a state of confusion, unsure of what to do but wanting to do something.

And I know this is true. I talk to many people and all of them want to do something. They agree with the principles of sustainability, but none of them agree on global warming, climate change, organic, energy, etc.

And they don’t need to. It’s all for the same cause. We just need to keep the focus on sustainability. That is where the Zeitgeist comes into play. A German word that is almost mystical in how it happens – millions of people coming together because they feel the same way about something. It doesn’t happen often, especially without war, but it is happening here.

We just need someone to write about it. To say what everyone is thinking and make it so well known that it becomes the new way to do things.

That is my job and I have spent years studying and learning about sustainability. I’ve been to the White House for discussions and into people’s garbage. Surprisingly, the whole thing breaks down into four topics:

  • Overcoming obesity
  • Living zero waste
  • Strong local economies
  • Clean air

The first one, obesity, is the most important of them all. It is impossible to be healthy and pollute the planet. And that’s the message I want to convey. This isn’t about sacrifice and loss, nor hard choices and spending money. All that is noise pollution and marketing.

The truth is that when you improve your life, you improve the planet. And this blog will teach you how to do so. With all the relevant facts and personal stories – plus the bigger picture to let you know you are affecting the world.

And all you have to do is make your life better.