Category Archives: Ecology

Improving weather forecasts and efficiency

I’ve been thinking lately about how much weather forecasts have improved in the last decade or so. It is not unusual for forecast daily highs and lows to be nearly spot on (+- 1 Deg F) up to two or three days forward.

We just had a major front pass here, and the temps went from the 40s and 50s F suddenly to the upper 80s F today. Now, if I did not have good forecasting available, the instinct would have been to open up the house when it hit the 70s. But since I knew it would get real hot, and stay hot for several days, we kept the windows closed, so the temperature in the house has stayed 5 to 10 Deg F lower than outside, keeping it comfortable for today, with no need for A/C.

It makes me think that smarter integrated HVAC systems, that have access to the forecast, could automatically make such decisions and save a great deal of energy, with no compromise to comfort. Well, sure, one issue is that windows would have to be mechanically controlled, which would be a large outlay of capital. But in general, there are great opportunities to increase conservation without loss of comfort, due to the steadily improving art of weather forecast.


Disposable flashlights

This disposable flashlight I had finally went dead, completely. As a conscientious consumer, I decided to take it apart to recycle the battery and throw out the rest. It was not easy to take apart. After removing the handle cover, used several screwdrivers at once to snap apart the case. I was surprised to see three standard, double A batteries inside. One was leaking, the others looked ok. I realized the lamp was fine and would fit a Mag light I had with a broken lamp, so I put that lamp in the Mag to fix it.

I understand that it is no longer permitted to produce such disposable products in the EU anymore. When are we going to come around to that?

This flashlight was probably made in China, but perhaps we should not allow imports of such products.

How much would it cost to make it non-disposable? Fifty cents more for some small screws and a little bit better battery case?