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155452.  Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:41 am Reply with quote

<<<A strange report appeared in the Observer last Sunday. It claimed that the British Department of Transport has produced a list of the most environmentally friendly vehicles to drive, but has left out electrically powered ones, like the British G-Wiz, on the grounds these are quadricycles, not cars. The managing director of the firm that makes the G-Wiz reasonably and pragmatically pointed out that "if it looks like a car and it's used like a car, then it's a car".>>>>
- World Wide Words, 10 March 07

The DoT is plainly wrong - a quadricycle is human-powered - but as it turns out, it’s not entirely their fault; it’s EU Directive 2002/24/EC, under which “a quadricycle is one of several kinds of small four-wheeled vehicles of which the biggest has an unladen mass of 400 kg and a maximum power of 15 kW.”

What’s your favourite EU directive? Mine is definitely one of the ones which must, by law, be displayed on tins of snuff: “EEC Council Directive (992/41/EEC) CAUSES CANCER.” A proud boast, indeed.

(Sic “EEC,” by the way.)

155510.  Sat Mar 10, 2007 1:03 pm Reply with quote

I've got a tin of McChrystal's Original and Genuine here and that just says "Causes Cancer" in small print on the bottom. Perhaps it's from a rogue batch and very valuable.

155529.  Sat Mar 10, 2007 3:43 pm Reply with quote

It may well be. A spokesman for the European Commission Health and Consumer Protection Directorate General Directorate C - Public Health and Risk Assessment C4 - Health Determinants (can you imagine how long his business card is?) confirmed to me that under Article 5 (4) of Directive 2001/37/EC “Smokeless tobacco products shall carry the following warning: ‘This tobacco product can damage your health and is addictive.’”

155537.  Sat Mar 10, 2007 4:46 pm Reply with quote

Well my tin is going straight onto eBay, then.

155765.  Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:16 am Reply with quote

Has Ebay branched out into snuff tins, then? I thought they were a specialist ear-wax spoon outlet.

158713.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:32 am Reply with quote

“According to the latest Land Cover Map taken from the Landsat satellite, ‘over a third’ of London’s total land area is ‘semi-natural or mown grass, tilled land and deciduous woodland’.”
- London the biography by Peter Ackroyd.

167885.  Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:41 am Reply with quote

Chopping down all the world's trees would help fight global warming.

...Or at least that's what a new climate model is showing.

There are a number of pros and cons about trees when it comes to temperature. One such con is that despite the fact that trees use up all that nasty CO2, they also absorb light from the sun (especially when against a snowy background).


The model calculated that the atmosphere's carbon-dioxide levels would roughly double by 2100. This is a much greater increase than happens in a business-as-usual simulation, but it would, paradoxically, make for a colder planet.

That is because brighter high latitudes would reflect more sunlight in winter, cooling the local environment by as much as 6°C. The tropics would warm up, since they would be less cloudy, but not by enough to produce a net global heat gain. Overall, Dr Bala's model suggests that complete deforestation would cause an additional 1.3°C temperature rise compared with business as usual, because of the higher carbon-dioxide levels that would result. However, the additional reflectivity of the planet would cause 1.6°C of cooling. A treeless world would thus, as he reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, be 0.3°C cooler than otherwise.


167906.  Thu Apr 19, 2007 1:22 pm Reply with quote

It would also, of course, destroy a lot of the life in the ocean. Trees eat up a lot of Carbon dioxide, which otherwise builds up in the atmosphere, and is soaked up in the sea, making it more acidic. Corals die, pelagic fish die, larger fish die, food chain breaks down, Godzilla comes to give up a slap on the knuckles.

Whichever way we poke the environment, it'll 'push' us back. It'll just take its time doing it.

167918.  Thu Apr 19, 2007 1:43 pm Reply with quote

I wish you'd said a bit sooner. I've just chopped down all the trees in my garden.

167929.  Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:31 pm Reply with quote

Watch out for plagues of locusts then...

173027.  Wed May 09, 2007 9:31 am Reply with quote

It would appear that I forgot to post this from a few weeks ago.

Question: Where is the world’s biggest dump?

Forfeit: Fresh Kills

Answer: The great Pacific Garbage Patch

There is an area of the Pacific Ocean, about the size of Africa which was known in the olden days as the Horse latitudes. It’s an extremely calm area of the ocean, the Pacific’s version of the doldrums, and in the age of sail, ships with diminishing provisions would jettison their horses and other livestock into the sea.

The horses wouldn’t get far, in fact it didn’t matter where they were dumped, they would end up in the horse latitudes anyway. Due to air heating and cooling at the equator and poles, the wind and currents spiral to the centre of this area, meaning that anything dumped in the Pacific Ocean ends up here. The result is an area, larger than the USA, full of crap. Scientists know the atmospheric phenomenon as the subtropical high, and the ocean current it creates are called the north Pacific central or sub-tropical gyre.

In the past the debris would be broken down by microorganisms in the ocean, but they cannot deal with plastics, there is now, in an area of water the size of a continent, 6 pounds of plastic for every pound of plankton.

Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it photodegrades, the sunlight gradually breaks it down until it becomes equally undigestible molecules of plastic. As you can imagine this is a nightmare for any species in the area – which is becoming a desert in the ocean. 90% of Hawaiian green sea turtles nest here and eat the debris, Albatrosses are feeding on cigarette lighters and coloured plastic pieces can be seen in the bellies of transparent feeding sinophores.





181486.  Sun Jun 10, 2007 4:46 am Reply with quote

The daily mail asks if this is the world's most polluted river, it's the Citarum river near Jakarta.

202096.  Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:30 am Reply with quote

A biodegradable plastic is being developed which means that one day the best way to dispose of plastic may be to throw it into the sea.

s: BBC Focus Magazine June07

833081.  Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:10 am Reply with quote

The result is an area, larger than the USA, full of crap.

According to an Oregon State Scientist, the plastic patch is "less than one percent the size of Texas."

s: geographical magazine - march 11

833096.  Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:49 am Reply with quote

The original study seems to have come out in January (link).

It's a mixed message to the naked eye, but is trying to explain more clearly what the situation is so that the details cannot be erfuted by those who want to ignore the situation. The fact that the headline fact published is the size rather undermines that message IMO :)

What I found very interesting from the study is the level of density which we cannot really measure because of the way plastic breaks up in the water, and the amount that sinks and sits at the bottom.


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