суббота, 9 апреля 2011 г.

The Problems of Ecology, Protection of the Environment

         Does all of population- nature, animals, birds, fish, and insects live happy and healthy lives in our common "home" nowadays?  Unfortunately not. Since ancient times nature has served man, giving him everything he needs: air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink, wood for buildings and fuel for heating his home.  For thousands of years people lived in harmony with the environment and it seemed to them that the resources of Nature had no
end or limit.  The 20th century is known to be the century of scientific and technological progress.  The achievements of mankind in mechanization and automation of industrial processes, in chemical industry and conquering outer space, in the creation of atomic power stations and ships are amazing. With the industrial revolution, our negative influence on Nature began to increase.  This progress gave birth to a very serious
problem: the poisoning of our planet, its land, its air and water.  Large cities with thousands of steaming, polluting planets and factories can be found nowadays all over the world.  The by-products of their activity affect all
living beings.  Much is spoken now about acid rain, global warming and ozone depletion caused by tons of harmful substances emitted by industrial enterprises.  
     Every year the atmosphere is polluted by about 1000 tons of industrial dust and other harmful substances.  Big cities suffer from smog.  Transportation is one of the main offenders in poisoning the environment.  Cars with their engines have become the main source of pollution in industrial countries.  Vast forests are cut down in Africa, South America and Asia for the needs of industries in Europe and the USA.  The loss of the forests upsets the world's oxygen balance.  As a result, some species of animals, birds, fish and plants have disappeared andcontinue disappearing.  Many of them are on the brink of extinction, many have been written down into the "Red Book of Nature".   People continue to kill animals to wear fur coats. We kill many animals just for their fur.  Some of these animals, such as the fox, are in danger of extinction.  Every hour some kinds of animals and plants die.  Rivers and lakes dry up.  One of the most recent examples is the Aral Sea, which has become much smaller due to man's activity.  The pollution of the air and the world's oceans and the thinning of the ozone layer are other problems arising from man's careless attitude towards ecology.  The protection of the environment is a universal concern.  Active measures should be taken to create an international system of ecological security. Some progress has been made in this direction. 159 countries, all members of the United Nations Organization, have set up environmental protection agencies.  A lot of conferences have been held by these agencies to discuss ecological problems, some of which are of extreme urgency.
     The EARTH is our HOME. The world around us is wonderful. Our aim is to make it more beautiful and to preserve it for ourselves and for future  generations.

The Apple app ecology gets some greased wheels

          Ever since the launch of the App Store in 2008, developers have been looking for ways to bring some of the cool features they implemented for the iPhone back to the Mac. Then, with the 2010 launch of the Mac App Store, a whole new group of developers began looking for ways to port their iOS apps to the Mac for the first time. Now, two prolific developers have teamed up to create Chameleon, an open source project that aims to make it simpler to bring iOS work over to the Mac.
Pull back the curtain on the Chameleon Project and you’ll find developers Sean Heber and Craig Hockenberry, both of Iconfactory fame. The two say their motivation for creating Chameleon was the latest version of Twitterrific for the Mac, which ended up bringing over many of the popular features from Twitterrific for iOS. According to the project page, Iconfactory faced only being able to use 25 percent of its code from the iOS version on the Mac, but was able to turn that into 90 percent after porting the iOS UIKit into a new framework on the Mac. That new framework is Chameleon.
         One of the great innovations of the Apple ecosystem is that iOS developers have an ability to relatively easily move their apps from mobile devices to desktop ones. Perhaps a month worth of work.
Now we see some developers that are working to make it even easier. Chameleon may actually be able to just be dropped into the iOS app in order to permit the proper shift from a touch-based to a mouse-based system.
They recognized that Apple has other needs and purposes than to develop this themselves so this Open Source project filled the gap.
It would be nice if Apple helped support the effort. It’ll only make its efforts more successful, creating an even stronger ecosystem for developers. Create something for the iOS app economy and then, once it has the buzz and interest, move it to the desktop, where a premium can still be asked.

четверг, 11 ноября 2010 г.

Climate change - Lots of talk, very little action

Many people have already accepted the fact that climate change is the biggest environmental threat of all time but still world leaders fail to agree upon the new climate deal that would oblige countries to reduce carbon emissions. The worst possible future climate change scenario includes frequent droughts, floods, extreme weather events, major sea level rise, and hunger across the globe.

If we want to avoid such catastrophic scenario world needs to significantly reduce CO2 emissions on global level. The best thing to do so would be to burn less fossil fuels, since fossil fuels like coal and oil contribute most to the excessive levels of harmful CO2 emissions. This is easy to say but very difficult to do because world still heavily relies on fossil fuels as fossil fuels are dominant energy sources.

Many will say that the solution to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels is renewable energy but renewable energy sources like wind and solar energy have only started developing, and they will need at least couple of decades before being able to compete with fossil fuels. We must not also forget the fact that fossil fuel lobbies are extremely powerful, and they are anything but reluctant to use their political influence to get major political decisions going their way.

Going green for politics is still more connected with the color of the money then helping our environment, and for many world's leaders ecology still has a very low value.

When it comes to doing something for ecology and environment what have we seen in the last twenty years or so? Lots of talk, lots of promises, and very little if any real efforts to actually protect our environment from climate change.

Just look at the big Copenhagen failure, it is more than enough to show you what politics is all about, namely the game of different interests. Climate deal should be one of the biggest global decisions in human history but current global political climate is anything but suitable for big global decisions.

This is because each country looks at its very own political and economic interests, and this is not the surroundings needed for global agreement.

World still hasn't acknowledged how serious climate change issue is. Do world leaders really need some disaster of major proportions to start believing?

What is climate change doing to our oceans?

Oceans are massively important for all life on our planet but rising greenhouse gas emission are doing great damage to them which will likely result in great damage to many marine ecosystems and breaking down the entire food chain. The worst fact is that once these changes occur they will be irreversible meaning that we could be well on the way for yet another great extinction event.

Due to the increased levels of greenhouse gases (most notably carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere our oceans are rapidly warming becoming more acidic in the process because they are absorbing much larger quantities of greenhouse gases. This has led to altered water circulations and creation of many ocean dead zones that look to be constantly expanding.

Oceans currently absorb around 30% of man-made carbon emissions but further strengthening of climate change impact will in years to come likely significantly disrupt this ability of theirs.

For many thousands of years climate on our planet was pretty much stable but in the last 100 years or so man-made greenhouse gas emissions have changed this stability forcing everything on this planet to adapt to these rapid changes. We still do not know how will oceans cope with this need for rapid changes but first signs are not very good (ocean dead zones, ocean acidification, huge damage to marine ecosystems).

Marine scientist John F. Bruno at the University of North Carolina recently said that "we are becoming increasingly certain that the world's marine ecosystems are approaching tipping points and these tipping points are where change accelerates and causes unrelated impacts on other systems".

It is estimated that today more than 3 billion people depend upon the ocean for their primary source of food, and by the year 2050 this number could even reach the 10 billion mark.

It is of vital importance that world responds to these problems and does everything what it takes to protect our oceans. We need our oceans much more than they need us because without the continuation of services they provide it will be very difficult to survive.

Will world be able to curb carbon emissions?

The only logical solution against climate change is to curb carbon emissions on global level, and this means that world needs to cut dependence on fossil fuels, and use clean energy to satisfy its ever-growing energy needs. China, the world fastest developing economy, has recently overtook US and became the world's biggest carbon emitter, and therefore a lot will depend upon China's ability to curb carbon emissions in years to come.

Last November China made a promise to cut its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 compared with the level from 2005, and it is good to know that China really wants to make this happen. According to the China's Minister of Environmental Protection, Zhou Shengxian, "the old path of economic growth based on environmental pollution implemented in developed countries over the past 300 years is not feasible in China, and China can not afford the losses brought by this development mode".

China still heavily relies on coal and other fossil fuels but renewable energy is also becoming increasingly important. China is already world's largest manufacturer of solar panels as well as wind turbines, and continues to heavily invest in clean energy, energy efficiency, and other ecological solutions to curb carbon emissions.

China's government is really trying to maximally stimulate the development of clean and low-carbon energies, including hydroelectric, nuclear, wind and solar power. China's current clean energy goal is to get 15 percent of power from non-fossil sources by 2020, and if China continue this current path, it will make it happen.

It has to be said that China is not the only country that needs to work on ways to reduce carbon emissions, United States must do the same. U.S. is the country that mainly contributed to climate change problem after being world's biggest CO2 polluter for so many years, and thus should lead the way when it comes to solving climate change issue.

Climate change is global issue, and requires global efforts that should result in the form of new climate deal. Copenhagen infamously failed, will it be better luck next time?

Climate change issue shows how little we care about our planet

If there's one thing that clearly shows our lack of care and love for our planet then this is no doubt climate change issue. Despite the scientific warnings that climate change impact is approaching a tipping point where changes will become irreversible (eventually leading to disaster of gigantic proportions) world is still nowhere near agreeing on new climate deal, and world leaders are still more worried about industry and finance than our planet's health.

The latest reports suggest that political games and individual interests are still too big obstacle for one major global agreement such as new climate deal. Every country looks how to protect its own interests, and all of them seem to be blind when looking at the big picture. In these circumstances new (effective) climate deal is impossible, and Copenhagen may not turn to be the last huge blow when it comes to climate change deal like many environmentalists hoped it would be.

As long as there is such a discrepancy between agreements made by world leaders for reductions in emissions by 2050 needed for the world to be on a 2°C path and the comparatively weak targets pledged for 2020 we can forget about the effectiveness of new climate deal. The scientists have calculated that is we continue this current path we can expect a temperature increase of of 3.5°C by the end of this century, and such increase would cause a real disaster in many parts of our planet.

What can we expect from the next round of climate talks in Bonn? Given the current political situation we might as well forget some meaningful action on global level. The most recent political analysis suggests that leading politicians still believe that costs of significantly cutting emissions would hurt our industries too much. In other words world leaders still prefer to sacrifice our planet's health to keep industry happy. In world where everything is measured through money this really doesn't come as a big surprise. It just shows one sad reality we live in.