Sanding our assholes with 150 grit. Slowly. Lovingly.

Gore issues climate-change challenge to engineers

http://www.siliconvalley.com/news/ci_5589723?nclick_check=1

<quote>
Climate activist and former Vice President Al Gore challenged engineers Tuesday to help find a solution to global warming, a mission he said would inspire a new generation of Americans to take up their profession.
...
"When we undertake that challenge, you will find young people flowing into engineering," he said during an address at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose. "They are desperate to find something larger than themselves" to work on.
</quote>

Very true. It's a good plan. Redirect the 99% of the world whose sole goal is to make a penny from advertising. There's got to be more.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 4th, 2007 12:50pm
Eh, I'd rather they were challenged to create nuclear breeder reactors, or perhaps a trip to the moon, or perhaps a more efficient car.

Focussing on "Global Warming" is like trying to make a guy want to be a doctor because Fever exists in the world.  Yes, it would be better if people didn't have fevers.  But that's an awfully large and diffuse goal.

And large and diffuse goals don't tend to motivate.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 4th, 2007 1:06pm
> nuclear breeder reactors

Breeding. What a surprise :-)
Permalink son of parnas 
April 4th, 2007 1:08pm
I think he'd be better off promoting a way to reduce the use of "standby" power.  Devices which are never truly off can be responsible for 5-26% of your home's power consumption.

http://rael.berkeley.edu/files/2000/Ross-Meier-StandbyPower-2000.pdf
Permalink xampl 
April 4th, 2007 1:13pm
> I think he'd be better off promoting a way to reduce the use of "standby" power.

You think he would be better off focusing on a single narrow goal than empower thousands to follow a vision?
Permalink son of parnas 
April 4th, 2007 1:32pm
Better a narrowly defined goal that furthers the ultimate goal of reducing energy consumption (and global warming as a result), than some nebulous hand-waving goal that ultimately turns out to be more discouraging than encouraging.

You then go on to ask for things like "Reduce motor vehicle emissions by 15%" and "Reduce factory emissions by 20%".  Stepwise refinement is the key.
Permalink xampl 
April 4th, 2007 1:41pm
> Stepwise refinement is the key.

It's the key to making an ever better buggy whip.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 4th, 2007 1:42pm
The news isn't summarizing his position well enough. I don't think they're to blame since it's both very broad and very nuanced.  Assuming he hasn't radically changed his mind since putting out Earth in the Balance, it's probably about humanity's disconnect with the earth.

I wasn't there, but I suspect he said that engineers for the first time in history are wielding orders of magnitude more powerful technologies that can radically alter the earth and traditional engineering disciplines simply never had to consider this problem before.

He might be warning them: engineers who miss the bigger picture can quite literally destroy more value than they create.  Every discipline is soon going to have to wrestle with these concerns.

Global warming isn't his cause, it's simply a symptom of what he's trying to cure.
Permalink Michael B 
April 4th, 2007 1:46pm
The Gore Prize for Carbon Sequestration would be a piece of wood. Bamboo preferably.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 4th, 2007 2:10pm
Regarding standby power:

1. Note on page 4 that only one house had 26%, and all the others were 10% or less. The average was 9%.

2. The annual electricity use of all but 1 of the houses in this study is far below average electricity use in the US. Therefore, the national average of standby draw is likely to be a much lower percentage, since most houses use more electricity and have fewer computers and printers on 24 hrs a day than the houses in the Bay Area that were studied.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 4th, 2007 2:36pm
I think I move that curve upward -- I usually have 4 computers on 24/7 (one is a domain controller, but for the others I'm simply too impatient to wait for their boot time). 

Mitigating factor: I only have 1 TV, while most households have 2-3 of them.
Permalink xampl 
April 4th, 2007 3:59pm
Today's White House announcement may take some of the spotlight away from Al Gore:


President George Bush today announced his long awaited plan on how America can break its "addiction" to oil.
The announcement was made by the President along with the CEOs of the big three US automakers in the Rose Garden of the White House.

The plan calls for vehicles to burn human fat instead of gasoline in their engines.

The President said, "We couldn't be any, you know, uh, more happier than as happy as we are now to say that we have dealt a huge blow to the enemies of our freedomness. My colleagues here have stealthily over the years worked with the food makers to fatten up Americans. This was all part of the plan, see, heh heh, so that we can harness energy stored in our bodies to run our cars and SUVs without needing to buy foreign oil."

Existing vehicles can be retrofitted with special liposuction devices that suck fat as needed from the driver and or passengers and converts it to fuel that the vehicles can burn. Newer models will already come equipped with the necessary hardware.

The ACLU blasted the plan as being discriminatory against thin people. 

To which the President replied, "Eat up or shut up."
Permalink xampl 
April 4th, 2007 4:49pm
LOL!
Permalink son of parnas 
April 4th, 2007 6:11pm
Perhaps he could get the engineers to cut the electricity consumption in his own house; would be the equivalent of half-a-dozen Indian villages.

As for all the electricity used by standy, it comes to less than one light bulb. Just changing over two bulbs from fluorescent to incandescent would do the trick.
Permalink Send private email Stephen Jones 
April 6th, 2007 6:39pm

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