Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What about fusion energy?

So may be fusion can rescue us? I remember hearing about this in my teens (some 50 years ago). A solution always seems to be 20 years away. I expect this will eventually solve the energy problem but NOT in time to stop global warming. At NextBigFuture there is valuable review of the state of play of this important and promising but complicated and very expensive technology.

Can renewable energy help?

According to reports a major project by Google to find a cheaper-than-coal, competitive renewable energy solution failed:
"even if Google and others had led the way toward a wholesale adoption of renewable energy, that switch would not have resulted in significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions. Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach."
They did not find a solution which would "be able to deliver a technology that could compete economically with coal". In other words there is no purely economic solution. According to the report:
 "Let’s face it, businesses won’t make sacrifices and pay more for clean energy based on altruism alone. Instead, we need solutions that appeal to their profit motives."
It seems that the time to learn some altruism is at hand. There is no easy, convenient solution available. Governments, indeed nations, need to face their responsibilities. Behaviours must change.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Science and religion

Having had a few discussions on this subject (from a Baha'i perspective) recently a review seems useful. Abdu'l-Bahá affirmed that:
"Religion and science are the two wings upon which man's intelligence can soar into the heights, with which the human soul can progress. It is not possible to fly with one wing alone! Should a man try to fly with the wing of religion alone he would quickly fall into the quagmire of superstition, whilst on the other hand, with the wing of science alone he would also make no progress, but fall into the despairing slough of materialism."

And here are some excellent links I found.
From the official international Baha'i site:
" The truths of prophetic religion are revealed truths, i.e., truths which God has shown to us without our having to discover them for ourselves. Bahá'ís consider that it is the same unique God who is both the Author of revelation and the Creator of the reality which science investigates, and hence there can be no contradiction between the two."
An article by W.Hatcher, from a blog dedicated to this subject and which is full of good material, says in part:
"The ultimate resolution of the religion-science opposition is thus based on a balance and complementarity between the two, involving a better understanding of the nature and universality of scientific method on the one hand and of the nature and content of that datum which is the phenomenon of revelation on the other. 'Abdu'l-Bahá has expressed admirably the nature of this balance:
'Religion and science are the two wings upon which man's intelligence can soar into the heights, with which the human soul can progress. It is not possible to fly with one wing alone! Should a man try to fly with the wing of religion alone he would quickly fall into the quagmire of superstition, whilst on the other hand, with the wing of science alone he would also make no progress, but fall into the despairing slough of materialism? When religion, shorn of its superstitions, traditions, and unintelligent dogmas, shows its conformity with science, then will there be a great unifying, cleansing force in the world which will sweep before it all wars, disagreements, discords and struggles and then will mankind be united in the power of the Love of God.'"

And here is an article in Huffington Post by S.Friberg in which he says:
"The view that science and religion agree has a distinguished heritage. It prevailed in Athens during the axial age, in Islam at its peak, and in Europe during the scientific revolution. Modern society is likely to soon embrace it again, in no small part because it is increasingly clear that secularism and science by themselves cannot answer the challenges of a global society."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Life found in Trinidad pitch lake

An interesting find in our neighbour across the sea (Trinidad). According to this report in the blog "The Meridiani Journal":
"A recent discovery by scientists may have implications for possible extraterrestrial life: Bacteria have been found thriving in a lake of oil in Trinidad, again showing how life can exist in even the most inhospitable conditions on Earth. The discovery brings to mind the similar environment on Saturn?s moon Titan, where lakes and seas of liquid hydrocarbons (methane/ethane) exist at the moon's poles."
When you go to Trinidad make the pitch lake one of the sights to see.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Biodiversity in the Rupununi

An expedition to two localities in the Rupununi by World Wildlife Fund and Global Wildlife Conservation during late 2013 from did a comprehensive survey of biodiversity.  Their first report has now been released and consists of 97 pages.
"Preliminary results indicate 241 species of plants, 302 birds, 150 species of fish, 34 reptiles, 25 amphibians, 23 small mammals and over 300 species of insects were encountered during the two week expedition."
Also see this very readable write-up of this in Caribbean Beat. Plus there is this Guyana Times report from a local perspective.