The Conflict of Interest of CO2

Quite a hoo ha over one of those weekend type stories whose headline in the Times of London says it all: Revealed: the environmental impact of Google searches Physicist Alex Wissner-Gross says that performing two Google searches uses up as much energy as boiling the kettle for a cup of tea The article liberally quotes …

Continue reading ‘The Conflict of Interest of CO2’ »

Reforestation, Google Earth Style

Here’s a very cool way to mix technology and environmental stuff, via the Google Earth Blog. (Interest declared: It’s part of the NEWtrees project, the brainchild of my publisher and friend Mark Hanusz): The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) offers you the opportunity to buy a tree which will be planted in a rainforest in Sebangau …

Continue reading ‘Reforestation, Google Earth Style’ »

Satellites to the Rescue

Here’s a piece I wrote for the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation on how satellites and space technology are helping, and might help, in the case of big medical emergencies, from earthquakes to Ebola. It’s a slightly different tack for me and perhaps not the usual fare for loose wire blog, but I thought …

Continue reading ‘Satellites to the Rescue’ »

Cellphone Spikes and Disaster Management

Steven Levitt makes a good point on the Freakonomics blog about the spike in cellphone usage after the Minneapolis bridge collapse which alerted at least one carrier to an emergency before the news hit. His conclusion: This would seem to hints at strategies that could be useful for coordinating quick emergency response more generally, as …

Continue reading ‘Cellphone Spikes and Disaster Management’ »

Brain Withdrawal

I’m really getting into using PersonalBrain, the newly launched version of a decade-old program that should have swept the world by now. But there’s a downside to relying on one piece of software so much: When it goes wrong, you’re adrift. Luckily the guys at PersonalBrain are looking into it, but I had to stop …

Continue reading ‘Brain Withdrawal’ »

Traffic Rules Part I

The difference between a developed metropolis and a developing one isn’t transportation — it’s the rules and discipline about how that transportation is used. A city like Hong Kong flows because everyone follows the rules. A city like Jakarta doesn’t because people don’t. It’s not about building more roads, or more subways, or more bus …

Continue reading ‘Traffic Rules Part I’ »

Loose Bits, Nov 28 2006

From my PR intray, some surprisingly interesting little odds and ends: LocalCooling is a 100% Free power management tool from Uniblue Labs that allows users to optimize their energy savings in minutes and as a result reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions. The software “automatically optimizes your PC’s power consumption by using a more effective power save …

Continue reading ‘Loose Bits, Nov 28 2006’ »

Google Earth as Harbinger of Doom

Researchers are using Google Earth, the New York Times/IHT reports, to look for evidence of giant tsunamis, signs that the Earth has been hit by comets or asteroids more regularly, and more recently, than people thought: This year the group started using Google Earth, a free source of satellite images, to search around the globe …

Continue reading ‘Google Earth as Harbinger of Doom’ »

Indonesia’s Quake

For anyone interested in helping the victims of the Yogyakarta earthquake, in which thousands of people have been killed inside their heavy stone and slate homes, here’s Indonesia Help – Earthquake and Tsunami Victims. Sadly, this website was originally set up for the tsunami, now 17 months ago, but has been quickly resurrected to provide …

Continue reading ‘Indonesia’s Quake’ »

Mobilizing the Bird Watchers

It sounds more like the storyline for a movie, but this piece in the International Herald Tribune by Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of “The Coming Plague”, highlights an area where technology might be able help stem the tide of bird flu: One …

Continue reading ‘Mobilizing the Bird Watchers’ »