2016 was the warmest year on record

2016 officially came in as the hottest year in recorded history for this planet (as previously reported here, it was the second warmest if looking only at the US).  Both NASA and NOAA independently came to this same
conclusion, using data from over six thousand weather stations around the world.

Care to guess what year is #2 in the list?  Yep, 2015.  And you guessed it, #3 is 2014.  Even a Republican can’t deny this trend.  Ok, well that’s not true, they’re expert climate change deniers, they’ll deny anything for personal gain.  And we *can* expect 2017 to be cooler than 2016 due to the waning El Nino.  So it’s up to the rest of us to call them out on their bullshit and not let them fuck up this planet any more.

Here are some external links if you’d like to read more about this:

Climatecrocks.com

Newatlas

Engadget

 

The latest in global warming

Unless you’re ignoring the science, the Earth continues to exhibit signs of global warming.  2016 came in as the second hottest year (behind 2012) on record for the US.  With El Niño expected to fade in 2017, things should cool off a little this year but the upwards trend continues.  As for the ice in the oceans, global sea ice levels have never been as low as they are currently.  Troubling signs overall, and with climate change deniers poised to take control of the US, attempts to avert this impending disaster are not likely to succeed.  🙁

A Smart Home can lead to increased energy usage

I’m in the process of making my home ‘smart’.  Which is a horrible, trendy marketing label that is completely inaccurate.  I mean, the home isn’t smart.  It’s just establishing connections between the home and a remote server, along with software to facilitate programming and interoperability.  But I digress.

I’ve noticed something fascinating as more devices in my home become connected and programmable.  Energy usage is increasing.  That floor lamp in the corner?  It was too much of a pain to walk over and turn it on, so the room was never well lit.  Now, Alexa turns that on when asked, and it’s also part of my routines for when I wake up, return home, etc.  Same thing applies to many of the lights in my home – normally it’d be too inconvenient to turn them on, and I’d just live in a house that was not lit up like Clark Griswold’s home at Christmas.  But now I have a choice.  Siri or Alexa take care of it for me, usually unprompted (yeah, I have to competing AIs in my life now…more on that later).

So, add in the increased energy usage, plus added energy required to produce a connected LED bulb instead of a standard one, and operational energy of the bulb’s connection and the AI hub communicating with me…and I’m not seeing a gain here.  But the geek side of me still loves it. 🙂

I’m still figuring out the best way to set up all this connectedness…the software is not as friendly as it needs to be, nor as complete.  I’ll delve into that in the near future as I figure this out.  For now, it’s time to say goodnight to Alexa and Siri.  And if you’re curious about Alexa…this scene from a recent episode of Mr. Robot did a cool job of showing how humans can find themselves interacting with this emerging technology:

Moving along at a furious pace…

The weekend is here!  Let’s get it started with a classic from Darude:

In other news…my Oculus Rift has shipped!  Look for a review here next week.  My fear is it may not live up to the hype, and my own expectations…I’ve wanted something like this for a long time now…

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

The Environmental Working Group has published their updated 2016 version of the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.  This guide looked at pesticide residue data from the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration to rank 50 common fruits and vegetables by the amount of pesticides on them.  The results were  a bit surprising, and yet another reason why it’s better to buy organic when possible!

Here’s the full list, from worst to best:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Apples
  3. Nectarines
  4. Peaches
  5. Celery
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Spinach
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Sweet bell peppers
  11. Cherry tomatoes
  12. Cucumbers
  13. Snap peas (imported)
  14. Blueberries (domestic)
  15. Potatoes
  16. Hot peppers
  17. Lettuce
  18. Kale/collard greens
  19. Blueberries (imported)
  20. Green beans
  21. Plums
  22. Pears
  23. Raspberries
  24. Carrots
  25. Winter squash
  26. Tangerines
  27. Summer squash
  28. Snap peas (domestic)
  29. Green onions
  30. Bananas
  31. Oranges
  32. Watermelon
  33. Broccoli
  34. Sweet potatoes
  35. Mushrooms
  36. Cauliflower
  37. Cantaloupe
  38. Grapefruit
  39. Honeydew melon
  40. Eggplant
  41. Kiwi
  42. Papayas
  43. Mangos
  44. Asparagus
  45. Onions
  46. Sweet peas (frozen)
  47. Cabbage
  48. Pineapples
  49. Sweet corn
  50. Avocados

Until there’s proper, scientific human testing of the effects of long term exposure to pesticides as well as the combination of pesticides used on different produce…I recommend sticking with organic!

You can read more at Treehugger.