Links of the day


Friday, July 27, 2007


Meat and bone

In my kitchen there is a knife which cuts through meat and bone easily.

It comes from a country far far away.

When you miss-handle it, you feel no pain, for the cut is clean.

Instead, your ego is halved : you are made a fool for thinking you could master what you could not.

But it is actually quite cheap in store. It is called the Tojiro DP F-808 21cm Gyoto Chef's Knife, I know of it via Cooking for Engineers' excellent chef knife review, and you can get it for around 50$ at


Je conduis à 8.25$ de l'heure

Bonne nouvelle ! Je me suis résolu d'acheter des crédits carbone pour tous mes déplacements en auto et en avion.

Il s'agit de savoir maintenant, combien ça va me coûter.

Tel que je le mentionnais dans le poste précédent, l'analyse de Vatterfall conclut qu'il est possible de contrebalancer toutes les émissions de ce monde au coût de 3$can par tonne (aka, 2 euro par tonne). Ça semble cher. Et puis, on se doute que ce prix ne sera pas disponible pour un consommateur isolé, pour l'ultime early-adopter qui décide de sauver la planète avant les autres. C'est le cas de, qui vend des crédits carbone au coût de 10$can/T.

J'aime bien calculer la consommation de mon auto en $/heure. Ça aide à mettre les choses en perspective. Un voyage Allostop entre Montréal et Sherbrooke coûte 13.50$ (4.50$ de frais, $7 au chauffeur, et un billet de métro). Le même voyage en auto, c'est 1 h 30 à 8$/h (utilisant 6.5L/100 km, 120 km/h, et 1.03 $/l), donc à peu près le même prix.

Avec ma décision d'acheter des crédits carbone, l'auto sera dorénavant encore plus chère de l'heure. Voyons voir: Brûler 1L de gas libère 3 kg de CO2. Au prix de Terrapass, c'est 3c/L. Je passe donc de 8$/h à 8.25$/h. Une augmentation nette du coût de l'essence de 3 %.

3 % d'augmentation, c'est tout ce que ça prend pour sauver la planète.

Planète à vendre. Méchante aubaine.

Voici la feuille OpenOffice que j'ai utilisée pour faire les calculs.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Avoiding a global warming explosion is technically feasible

I love sentences that use the literal meaning of a word where you would not expect it. Sometimes the figurative meaning of a word takes over, such as when it is made into an common expression. Take for example the expression "While it is technically true that ...". In the title, that is not what I mean by technically.

The goal is to arrive below a raise 2 degrees Celsius, before 2030. According to the UN, that is the cut-off date to avoid explosion of the world temperature due to positive feedback mechanisms within the world's weather system. The technologies required to achieve this have been identified. It is technically feasible.

The Swedish energy company Vatterfall published their engineering report on climate change. In it, they present this illustrated list of the numerous measures available that reduce CO2 emissions, ordered by cost. On the left there are the measured which save the most money, such as insulation, and to the left those that cost the most money, such as Biodiesel.

The horizontal axis is the cumulative tonnage of emitted CO2 that would be saved, if we applied all the technologies leftward of that point of the axis, given how much opportunities for deployment there are for each of them.

We can achieve our objective by selecting all the technologies, the money saving ones, the cheap ones, the not-so-cheap ones, all the way up to those costing 40 euros per ton. The average cost amounts to 2 euro per ton of CO2. Expensive, sure, but also feasible, economically.

Remains the question of whether it is feasible, politically.

On that question, François offered I read the book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jarred Diamond. It is available at the Grande Bibliothèque Nationale, and it will be the next book I read (thanks François).

Update, March 03, 2010:

The study I mentionned above has gone offline. Here is another one with similar conclusions:

Sunday, July 8, 2007


Kid Koala

The most important thing is the first thing you say.

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