Rebuttal


A friend of mine recently asked me to post a clarification to a comment on one of her Facebook posts. My friend had posted this piece about how climate change skeptics/denialists are so underrepresented in the scientific literature, and someone hit back with many of the standard denialist talking points, including such hits as: There is very much a debate The science is still not settled The government is not financing skeptical science ...when the "piers"(i.e. pier(sic) reviewers) are all alarmist we get--to use a climate science term--a feedback loop there is not one model that has been able to accurately backcast and forecast the climate I'm not a denialist; I'm a skeptic I (now) believe…

Continue Reading

Radio Radiance


Last Thursday, I hit the airwaves, yakking about lighting simulation. For some reason the Boulder Green Building Guild was interested in my take on the use of simulation in optimizing the energy efficiency of building designs in the US, on the latest installment of Footprint Radio. It was a thrill to share the half-hour with Kostas Papamichael from the California Lighting Technology Center, and my buddy Mike Plann from Lightlouver. I hope one or two people listen, and are intrigued enough to explore daylighting design, or at least turn off the lights once in a while. The cool thing is I'm now in the iTunes Music Store. Check it out by listening to the show on the BGBG's website, or…

Continue Reading

Update


Still alive. Brenda saw her third production season at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival to fruition; all shows are up and running, her crew gets tighter every year and she seems to like it more all the time. Riding my bike again; still outta shape. The four eggs nesting in our hanging plant out front have hatched; got a couple of crappy pictures, lack motivation to get them off the camera. Hooper weighs 58 pounds, a 16% increase from past vet visits; still considered normal, but he could stand to lose a few lubs, just like his owner. The goddamned TV is busted, on the final week of the Tour; parts on order, will arrive after the Tour. In one week…

Continue Reading

Change


I finished my last job on Friday, and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to start the new one the following Monday. Guess that means I start my new job tomorrow, and to say I'm excited would be an understatement. Today was a study in change, an awakening of a dormant mind. I realized I had been on autopilot for months, if not years, and was unhappy about it. Sure, I chose to do something about it a couple months ago, but today I realized just how unhappy I was, how frustrated I was with my old bosses, how disillusioned I had become with my current work. Part of that stems from the way my…

Continue Reading

The Horror of Bike to Work Day


Today in Colorado it's "Bike to Work Day", part of the greater "Walk and Bike Month" promoted by the state and various organizations. (Nationally, this event happens in April or May, but in Colorado there could be a foot of snow on the roads then, so we do it a little later here.) Now, on the surface of things, this is great. a major promotion of the use of alternative transportation, to open your eyes to the wonders of commuting outside of that steel box you drive the rest of the year. In the spirit of promoting the event and rewarding the riders and walkers, businesses all over Boulder set up stands and hand out free breakfasts and free samples…

Continue Reading

News: Heartless Bitches can Raise Children and Pets (or, why I want to be a vet)


This shit makes me crazy. The local paper ran an article today about the booming pet care business, especially in dog-crazy Boulder. Here in Boulder, there is a "law" that encourages Boulder pet owners to refer to themselves as their pet's "guardians", not "owners". You know how I feel about this one; I have a receipt. But it gives you an idea of the mentality Boulder residents have towards their pets, and in general I think it's great. Here, our dogs are our kids. They hike (off-leash) with us, they frolic in the many dog parks, they are welcome in many businesses, not just the multitude of pet stores and pet bakeries (yes, pet bakeries), and they are everywhere. In…

Continue Reading

Happy Earth Day (plus rant!)


Mornin' folks, happy Earth Day. I'm closing in on three years working for a sustainable design consultant, and I'm delighted to be applying my lighting design and simulation skills toward saving a little energy and creating more pleasant built environments. But I have to say, these years of observing how we work has taught me that we don't always help our cause when we act all holier-than-thou while making our case for sustainable living. Smug email signatures come to mind, for example. I think as a group, we need to be less preachy and while we're at it, maybe start walking the walk a little bit more. My office parking lot is filled with SUVs and luxury sedans, which I…

Continue Reading

Green Signatures in the News (Again)


Well, my silly little piece on "green" email signatures is in the news again, this time in the L.A. Times. When I wrote that, it was cathartic because I was so frustrated by a particular co-worker and his sanctimonious ways, and his mindless insistence that we all preach to our clients this message that I felt went without saying. Who knew it would become the single most popular post on my website and the source for two newspaper articles on green email signatures (and a television interview that as far as I know landed on the cutting room floor)? Of course the fact that I work in sustainable design and live in left-leaning Boulder Colorado made my frowny post…

Continue Reading

Blackle


Here's a nice easy way to save some energy, set your web browser's default home page to www.blackle.com. This website is merely a portal to the Google search engine -- the search results are the same exact ones you'd get of you had searched from Google's home page -- but the page background is all black. Since it takes less energy to display a black screen on a monitor than a white one, the general idea is that the thousands upon thousands of people that hit Google daily will save a trickle of electricity every time they visit Google this way. The reality is that this only holds true for the older CRT computer monitors; those using LCD…

Continue Reading

Quoted


Well, what the hell do you know. One of my little old blog posts has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal! Something tells me that a lot of WSJ readers who may ultimately ferret out my website will not be entertained by the majority of my content, however...…

Continue Reading

Cheat Neutral


Most likely by now you have heard about the idea of "carbon neutrality", which is a happy state wherein you can say that your day-to-day existence is not resulting in any adverse affects on the environment, because your carbon emissions have been "offset" through good old fashioned moolah. You emit, so you buy these offsets, and some company supposedly plants a tree and viola, it's as if your Hummer runs on water. Sound like crap? It is. And some very funny peopple have put up a very funny satire of the whole sham. Cheat Neutral is looking to help you feel less guilty about cheating on your partner by selling "cheat offsets": Cheatneutral is about offsetting infidelity. We're the only…

Continue Reading

Green Signature Drafts


Working for a sustainable design consultant, as I do, I am continually exposed to exciting and interesting individuals with progressive views and ideas. The climate change crisis is real, and I'm excited to be helping in some small way to affect architectural design in a positive and sustainable way. But the sustainable message is bubbling over into my colleagues' email signatures, as evidenced by a recent email, which carried the following message after the author's signoff: "please consider the environment before printing this message." What a great idea, to follow every email message with a smug, self-satisfied, holier-than-thou little dig at your own client, I thought! That's not condescending at all! So this evening I sat down to draft my…

Continue Reading

Uh, Al? Helloooooo...


The other day I signed and emailed a message to Congress calling for action to solve the climate change issues facing the planet, and sent it to Al Gore as part of his presentation in Washington. Yesterday, I got this thank you email: Dear Rob, Thank you! By 10:00 AM yesterday, as I took my seat in the hearing room, an incredible 519,414 people had signed our message to Congress demanding immediate action to solve the climate crisis. All of those boxes chock full of your messages, sitting right next to me as I testified, were a fantastic show of support and one that is already having an impact as our Representatives and Senators begin to debate solutions…

Continue Reading

Progressive Power


Just got off the phone with Xcel Energy, the local power utility here in Boulder. I signed us up for wind power, baby! That's right, every watt we consume is now being generated by a wind turbine farm in Colorado or Wyoming. Oh sure, it all goes into the same grid, right alongside the coal-produced electricity, but by participating in Xcel's Windsource program, we're supporting the renewable energy infrastructure -- and it only costs about a buck per hundred kilowatt hours to do so. I'm still a long ways away from hugging trees, but I guess working for a sustainable design assistance consultant has definitely changed my thinking a bit.…

Continue Reading