In this section you will find some of my daily thoughts and ideas, reactions to news and articles read. Please beware that this will be highly subjective but might also inspire you, the reader.

Something I had to share.

While it was a bit scary last month when the electric engine all of a sudden stopped working and I just made it home, I guess that is probably something that is not necessarily unexpected for a 13 year old car with more than 250,000 km on the clock.

Paul (the car) had to go to the doctor and he was fixed in two days. Turned out that is was one bad cell in the battery that needed replacement and all was fine again. No, it did not need a new battery for $5000, just a new cell in there for $800 including cleaning and servicing. And now it's going better than ever before with a petrol consumption of 23km/l or 4.35 l/100km. Not too bad for a 13 year old car...

It was just two months ago when I installed some additional security measures on our server to prevent illegal script exploits and login attempts.

In those two months, we had more than 7000 illegal login attempts and brute force attacks that ended in more than 6000 blocked IP addresses. Scary, considering that we have a very small server and that the envirology website is not exactly Google, MTV or Amazon. That makes me shiver and wondering what those companies have to deal with....

Happy browsing!

As there are many shades of green, the same applies to recycling. There is downcycling, recycling and upcycling. I think those terms were used by Reiner Pilz first. Most of the time we are doing the lowest level: downcycling, ie your soft drink bottles are not turned into soft drink bottles any more but into some inferior product. And that usually happens only once until that product gets to the end of its life and then the final destination will be incinerator at its best or the tip. So in summary downcycling is actually a process of extending the life of a raw material but the destination is pre programmed.
While we can split atoms and fly to the moon, we seem not to be able to separate the dirt and impurities from a for example soft drink bottle and turn it back into a food grade soft drink bottle. And that is probably the case because the cost would be too high - or at least higher than digging, drilling or fracking for new resources. That is the sad reality.
So at this stage to me recycling is an attempt and we should not be distracted from the real issue: WASTE. Simply avoid it and you will need less recycling - for that is downcycling at this stage.

So we have done it, we sold our good passive solar house with some tears in our eyes. Particularly the kids were quite sad. However we look forward to remodeling a 1960 Keith Hay home to a new standard.

While we have downgraded (for now) in terms of house, we have upgraded in the land. We moved from 809m2 to 35,000 m2. The plans are to have some more space for more fruit trees, a larger vege garden, some animals and space for some of the activities you simply cannot do in an urban environment: I want my forge back and do some archery.

After the referendum against asset sales showed that 2/3 people were against asset sales, the National Government can apparently still see no reason to stop the sale.

The New Zealand Herald writes:

Preliminary results of a citizens-initiated referendum, published on Friday, showed two out of three voters opposed asset sales. But only 44 per cent of the public voted, enabling Prime Minister John Key to dismiss the referendum as a "political stunt".

"Three in four New Zealanders said no, we don't agree with Labour and the Greens," Key told media yesterday at Hobsonville Airbase in Auckland.

And the Young Nats have to apparently learn some political correctness and wisdom first as stated in the same article:

The Young Nats went one step further, posting a photo of John Key drinking a beer at a barbecue with the caption: "The provisional results for the asset sales referendum are ... who cares, it's Friday. Have a good one."

A day before that, the NZ Herald posted a survey on their website regarding Depp Sea Oil Drilling, where a similar number of people (2/3) opposed to the drilling. However the drilling continues and the Government is likewise ignoring those people.

I guess it's all for the best of the country, as the people are too dumb to make decisions and know what's best. Doh!

Personally I never liked composite decking.

I am not sure whether people understand the difference between recycling and downcycling. Recycling means (to me) that you can turn a product into the same product over and over again or into another product with equal value or maybe even higher value (that would be upcycling).

However in most cases when I read about recycling, it appears to simply mean molding a high quality product into an inferior product that cannot be recycled any further but will end in the landfill (or in incineration plants overseas).

One of those examples appears to be composite decking, that has entered the NZ market some years ago. It is either manufactured from recycled plastic entirely or with additions of a varying percentage of sawdust. Whatever composition is has, it is a mix of materials and will not be able to be recycled. As a result, you are extending the life of a previously good product (the "raw" materila my another 15 years. Some manufacturers used to give you less than 15 years warranty, however according to latest determinations, council can reject a composite decking material when the expected durability is less than 15 years because that's what the requirement for decking materila is in NZ.

Read more: Composite Decking - some thoughts and overseas observations

A friend of mine found this one:

Scientific Panel: Global Warming Threatens Society, Warning System Needed

Mass plant and animal extinction a risk, coral reefs could already be doomed

A scientific panel has called for the creation of an early ecological warning system after finding that global warming threatens a polar sea ice collapse, vast dead zones in the ocean and mass plant and animal extinction, possibly having a dire impact on human life.

Read more: Scientific Panel: Global Warming Threatens Society, Warning System Needed

It just happened that I stumbled across one of my old blob posts regarding the Kyoto Protocol.

Under one heading called "New Zealand’s obligations under the Protocol" it will take you to a passage that reads:

The most important obligation that would be imposed on New Zealand would be to ensure that New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions for the first commitment period (the five years from 2008 to 2012) are no higher than five times New Zealand’s 1990 level of emissions, or that we have taken responsibility for any emissions over this level through the emissions trading mechanisms and sinks provisions of the Protocol.

Read more: Kyoto Protocol and GHG emissions: Are we on track or what?

Everybody is talking climate change, storms are increasing, weather fluctuations increasing and no trace of ETS anywhere.
Meanwhile large companies GHG emissions going up instead of down (http://www.environmentalleader.com/2013/11/08/sc-johnson-sustainability-report-ghgs-up-3) and so do NZ GHG emissions (http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1310/S00326/massive-increase-in-new-zealands-projected-emission.htm)
On the other hand, private companies like my employer Babbage Consultants have signed up to carboNZero, a GHG emission accounting, reporting and offsetting scheme, with more companies having joined since, like Brother International. Good on you Brother.

It would appear that you can spend a lot of time waiting for governments to move.

Check out the carboNZero website. Worth a look at what company is taking Climate Change and GHG emissions seriously.

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