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:
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. 🙁
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:
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!