Rube Goldberg Nature

The more I learn about it, the more Nature looks like a Rube Goldberg machine: energy and materials flow through convoluted paths to accomplish something seemingly simple. Take the process by which a leaf decomposes. The sheer number of biogeochemical processes involved in the use of that leaf during decomposition is amazing: consumption by fungi … Continue Reading

Observations and Questions

For some time I’ve been accumulating observations and questions on a variety of topics but have felt the need to have, for the former, deep analysis, and for the latter, answers. I don’t have much in the way of either, but I’d like to share them nevertheless. Cause and Effect. Is technological progress driving prosperity, … Continue Reading

A Singul(arity) Track Mind

I like reading things that I think I’ll disagree with. I just borrowed one such book from the library—Peter Diamandis’s Abundance. His book has gotten a fair bit of traction in the mainstream and technology press, and more than that Diamandis seemed to be one of the few techno-centric authors willing to at least attempt … Continue Reading

The Wisdom of Deathbed Conversion

In 2005 it seemed that everything had changed. And then in 2007 it happened again. All of a sudden the only thing to expect was the unexpected. I’m talking of course about the weather, and the changes due to radiation entrapment. The climate seemed like it was dying. Out of desperation, many prominent environmentalists converted … Continue Reading

Seeing the world through embodied energy

As Howard Odum noted in his classic work on environmental accounting, “The natural conversion of sunlight to electric charge that occurs in all green-plant photosynthesis after 1 billion years of natural selection may already be the highest net emergy possible.” Emergy—embodied energy—is nearly invisible to us.  In a previous post I looked at how emergy … Continue Reading

Invisible waste (part 1): water

Environmentally aware individuals are perpetually bombarded by the worst sort of false choice, one that’s been drilled into us even by environmental activist organizations. You know the sort of false choice – the one where, as Adam points out, a big corporation will sponsor a wing of the local museum or aquarium and include a … Continue Reading