Crikey Creek

Introducing a new series: HydroEtymology

Daniel Collins Mar 29, 2010

Words are historical archives of how people perceived the world, or their place in the world. They are products of evolution. Just as we can analyse an organism’s anatomy for clues of its evolutionary ancestor’s habitats and behaviour, a word’s etymology can give us clues of what was going on around people as the word developed, and thus what they … Read More

Celebrating Ohl Day

Daniel Collins Mar 27, 2010

Move over Earth Hour. Get a life Edison Hour. Today is Ohl Day. Sure, Earth Hour shed some light on the consequences of mindless resource use and the benefits of behavioural change in a finite world. But replacing light bulbs with candles is not entirely climate-friendly. It’s not the electricity that’s the problem, or the lumens, it’s how … Read More

Battle of the bottle

Daniel Collins Mar 26, 2010

Not the beer bottle, but the water bottle. There’s a water war going on, and one battle took place this week. The first volley came on Monday, World Water Day, by the Story of Stuff Story Team: The International Bottled Water Association returned fire with a montage of staged interviews: See Green Inc. for on-the-battle-field coverage. Read More

The sound of a tree singing the blues

Daniel Collins Mar 24, 2010

When plants are water-stressed, water in their xylem (their water-conducting veins) can be under so much tension that the air dissolved in the water expands explosively to fill the encasing xylem unit. This is known as cavitation. And with the right equipment, or the right trees and conditions, you can hear it. BoingBoing has a delightful recoding of a … Read More

Trading water for democracy in Canterbury

Daniel Collins Mar 23, 2010

I arrived late. A woman was speaking in Christchurch’s Victoria Square on Monday soon after noon, riding over a regular barrage of heckles from members of the 300-or-so audience (the Press under-counted). It must have been Nicky Wagner. Her task, as National list MP and Christchurch resident, was to give the government’s stance on the Creech Report … Read More

Hopeful World Water Day!

Daniel Collins Mar 22, 2010

World Water Day isn’t really an occasion for celebrating. Nor is it really a sombre occasion to remember past sacrifices. It’s an opportunity to highlight a problem and work towards a solution, lest we become complacent. This year’s focus is on water quality. From the UN: “According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 4 billion cases of diarrhea each … Read More

Energy storage by mimicking photosynthesis

Daniel Collins Mar 19, 2010

From my old alma mater, MIT chemist Dan Nocera has developed a method to store energy that mimics photosynthesis – by splitting water. The key is having the right catalyst, and one that is cheap to make and maintain. In this case, a film of cobalt and phosphate coating an electrode. When fed a modest electric current, say from … Read More

Voluntary efforts to control farm pollution failing

Daniel Collins Mar 19, 2010

Yesterday, the sh!t hit the fan. Agriculture Minister David Carter: “The data from this year’s snapshot tells a totally unacceptable story of effluent management. Regardless of whether this is because farmers don’t have the right tools, don’t know how to comply, or simply don’t care, behaviour has to change.” The snapshot in question is a progress report on the … Read More