Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

OptiMap version 4 is here

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

New user interface

Hold down shift while pressing reload to make sure the page fully reloads if OptiMap appears broken.

The first thing you’ll notice is a complete makeover of the user interface. The functionality has grown considerably since I first posted OptiMap in 2007, and the controls were scattered randomly around. Now, they are organized into neat little drawers on the left, in the order you are likely to be using them. (more…)

Introducing SkyLib

Friday, November 4th, 2011


For a long time now, my mantra has been optimization. To make the most out of limited resources makes sense both economically and environmentally. OptiMap was an example of this. Driving too far is just stupid. Using OptiMap saves you time and money and it saves the environment too. (more…)

Japan Radiation Map

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Japan Radiation Map at 2011-03-17 18:40:00 Japan local time

I’ve created a map which shows the measured radiation values in Japan (note that this map is no longer online – the rest of this post is out of date). The data is scraped (credits go to Marian Steinbach) every 10 minutes (hit refresh to get the newest data). You can also click on each measurement location to see a chart of the measurements from that station over time.

Chart of historical values

Currently, there are about 200 measurement stations, but I’m having trouble finding the latitude and longitude of each measurement station. I’m sure someone who knows Japanese would have more luck…Anyway, I’m slowly working my way through the list of measurement stations, so more locations will be added continously. Any help with this would be much appreciated. Feedback and criticism is welcome, and should be added as comments to this page.

Update 2011-03-20: With the help of volunteer “hosoyamane”, a Japanese translation of the map is now available. It’s great to see volunteers pop up so fast!

Update 2011-03-20: A small spike in radiation is showing up in the stations in the Ibaraki prefecture around 10 am Japan local time this morning. However, the levels are still low (1000 nano-Gray is still 2000 times less than the average yearly dose of background radiation).

Update: The original radiation map I created is no longer maintained. Instead, users are redirected to a map created by the Institute of Information Design of Japan.

Embodied Energy

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Embodied energy is the amount of energy that goes into a product during its entire life-cycle. It includes the energy required to mine and refine materials, assemble these into the final product, transport it to the consumer, and dispose of it. An analysis that considers this entire process is called a life-cycle analysis.

A 1-litre plastic (PET) bottle has an embodied energy of roughly 5.4 MJ. This is the same as leaving a 15 W lightbulb on for 100 hours (1 kilowatt-hour is 3.6 MJ, a 15 W CFL lightbulb gives light equivalent to a 75 W incandescent light bulb). Aluminium cans are about 1.7x worse than plastic bottles in this respect.

Recycling changes the picture a little. Recycled PET has an embodied energy about 20-25% lower than virgin PET. Other types of plastic can achieve reductions in embodied energy of up to 50% by recycling.

While recycling can reduce the impact of disposables (and keeps the plastic out of landfills and nature), the impact of recycled materials is still huge. Avoid disposables whenever possible!

Source: The ImpEE Project, The University of Cambridge, Recycling Plastic

My First CO2 Quota Purchase

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

I’ve just purchased 5.89 contracts on the European CO2 emissions market, worth roughly $150. They are now effectively deleted from the market. These are meant to offset two round-trip flights from Toronto to Oslo. An extra multiplier was applied to the raw quantities of CO2, because the emissions from flights happen at high altitude and have been found to affect climate disproportionately.

View the certificate

Looking forward to go back to Norway! I’m sufficiently alienated here in Canada that it’s good to return to a sane (relatively speaking) place once in a while. Hope to see some of you there!