Only 15% of your car’s fuel is used to move your car forward

Over at New Fangled Green, bart points to this article which claims:

"Only about 15% of the energy from the fuel you put in your tank gets used to move your car down the road or run useful accessories, such as air conditioning. The rest of the energy is lost to engine and driveline inefficiencies and idling."

I don’t have the time or knowledge to know how accurate those figures are, but even if that’s exagerated, it’s clear that a lot of energy is lost (and therefore fuel used) when a car is not actually moving.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Citroen have developed engines that effectively shut down when idling, reducing fuel consumption when the car isn’t moving.

If more car manufacturers were on the ball, they’d be working on similar things (or licensing the technology from Citroen). This would be win for them because they can continue selling cars to a public that is ever more conscious of rising fuel prices, and a win for buyers because of the reduced fuel usage, and a win for an environment through reduced emissions (and less demand for fuel).

This kind of “rethinking” of processes, of the way things are done, is essential to create a sustainable future. We don’t (necessarily) need to go “backwards” or without certain things to live sustainably – often it only takes a bit of energy to rethink how we do things to get impressive gains.

Update 13-07: In another post on NewFangledGreen, Craig points to another similar approach: solar roof shingles. So simple…

Lack of updates

I’ve been busy doing an end-of-year review of the WWF-Australia website as part of a broader performance review and I’ve been busy doing charts, reviewing stats, and trying to work out why our search engine traffic jumped significantly over the past three months (yes, probably boring to you, but I really wanna know why that happened).

It’s mostly good news – the site performed above our targets on most fronts ($$ raised, visits + visitors etc.) – so I’m pretty happy with how we’ve gone in “year one”, so-to-speak.

The net result, though, has been not a lot of posting here. Although most of that process is done, I’ve still got heaps on which means posting might continue to be a bit light over the next few weeks.

But in the meantime, a couple of quick things:

  • I was stoked to see that The Devoted Few are supporting Eskimo Joe (dates and venues here)
  • We’re tracking drums and (hopefully) guitar for a demo with my new band tomorrow
  • Bush finally succumbs to the pressure of actually obeying the law (for once)
  • Loving Something for Kate’s “Desert Lights” – my fave lyric is from Impossible: "And I don’t want to be the rain/Falling on her impossible parade/So as sure as I can believe in anything/I will bite my tongue and believe in impossible things"

Anyways, ciao for now…

Mac OS X 10.4.7

I eventually had to re-install 10.4.7 on the latest iMac (which works, finally) and had the same issues with Photoshop CS and the Microsoft Office suite that I mentioned previously.

I did a little digging, and this is only an issue for Intel-based machines. I also read on a forum somewhere that Apple had posted a patched version of the install. I went to the Apple website and downloaded this 10.4.7 update and reinstalled it over the previous 10.4.7 version.

Apart from a weird glitch late yesterday arvo, this seems to have fixed the problem. Just thought I’d share the solution in case someone else comes across this issue.

Chandler 0.6

In a round about way I revisited Chandler – a personal information manager currently under development. They are still in progress, and my first response was “how’s this different to iCal”. But looking more closely at the breakdown of features for the calendar I noticed it actually has some nice touches.

The timezones feature is exactly as I would expect a calendar to function, and I am amazed that other calendar solutions don’t work that way. This is useful for me when we’re working on international press releases, conference calls/video-conferences.

The second feature is the fact you can assign a single event to more than one “collection” (which seems analagous to the multiple calendars option in iCal – though I’m sure there’s a lot more to them than that).

I’ve been discussing with a few folks around here how we might manage an organisation wide calendar. Being able to assign events to multiple collections would allow us to have different “lenses” to the same information.

Let’s say we release our Futuremakers email on 19 July. This particular event (the release) has organisation wide significance, so therefore may be included in the “organisation” collection. It is also a communications team product, so would also be included in the “communications team” collection (containing all the stuff our team is responsible for). And it may also be the last item in the project plan for the actual newsletter – let’s say the “Futuremakers email” collection.

I’m not sure if other calendaring solutions support this type of framing (collections, lenses etc.) – but it would certainly be useful for us for that purpose.

Very cool, and worth keeping an eye on.

Update 13-07: Had a bit more of a look today – support for CalDAV (for calendar sharing) and the ability to sync with any server (not just locked into a proprietary one like iCal is) are major bonuses. I’d be seriously interested if I could find a phone/pda to sync/share calendars with it.

Another day waiting for the iMac replacement

Sad Macintosh

So after two stuff-ups with couriers (one organised without notice to me, the second not organised after agreeing a day and time), I’m informed today that the reseller has sold all of their iMac stock, so my replacement will be delayed yet another day (it’s been out of action for two and a half days as I write this).

So hopefully tomorrow will see the delivery of a replacement. And hopefully the replacement won’t exhibit the same fault the last two Intel iMacs we’ve received have…

More on carbon sequestration

The other day, in response to Al Gore’s speech at the TED conference, I mentioned that “the jury is still out on Carbon Storage and Sequestration (CSS)”. Today, the SMH reports that issues have been found with one method of storage:

CARBON dioxide buried underground has dissolved the minerals that help keep the dangerous greenhouse gas from escaping, US scientists have revealed.

Researchers testing the viability of injecting CO2 into saline sedimentary aquifers, in a US Government experiment in Texas, found it caused carbonates and other minerals to dissolve rapidly, which could allow CO2 and brine to leak into the water table.

CSS may one day present an option, and may be one of many solutions to the climate crisis. But the government and many in industry keep waiting and waiting for untested or problematic technology to allow us to keep a “business as usual” attitude. Solutions exist today. We simply need the political will to make it happen.

WWF Futuremakers email newsletter design featured by Campaign Monitor

The heading kinda says it all, but we’re very chuffed that Campaign Monitor has featured our Futuremakers email newsletter in their design gallery. The design was created by Massive Interactive in collaboration with us, and we put together the HTML behind-the-scenes.

The HTML is unfortunately a bit of a mess because we wanted the design to look good in a wide variety of email clients (including Gmail and Hotmail) which meant a lot of less-than-satisfactory hacks to get the desired end result.

We’ve been using Campaign Monitor for the last three or four emails that we’ve sent out, and the service is excellent. We’ve run into a couple of small issues, and they’ve been very prompt in responding to our feedback, which has been fantastic.

It’s very cool to be featured in the gallery especially because I was following the gallery well before we were a customer, and learnt an enormous amount about how to develop a compelling newsletter. Their blog articles on CSS and best practices have also been invaluable.