Pollution

  • Some recent declarations from VW executives about the Volkswagen scandal are half unbelievable, half totally irrelevant. Seriously.Quoting from “Could Rogue Software Engineers Be Behind VW Emissions Cheating?”: “This was not a corporate decision,” [Michael Horn, CEO of Volkswagen America] later added. “There was no board meeting that approved this.” Duh. Really? How unexpected! Who would have thought? All laws, ethics and morals aside…, if I had shares in any company whose board members were so idiot to discuss something like this in an official meeting, maybe even leaving a written record, I’d either fire them on the spot, or get rid of my shares as quickly as I could.
  • This is my own summary/understanding of a paper about the Insufficiency of Efficiency. I found it interesting because it complements what I recently read about the need for society to adapt as soon as possible to a much smaller EROI (energy return on energy invested). Corrections and feedback are very welcome. In economics, the term efficiency refers to the efficient allocation of resources. The faith in efficiency as the top priority in economics is misplaced.
  • A reader of this website recently asked me what the word Trashware exactly means. Here is a short explanation and a few pointers to more informations. You’re encouraged to add more in the comments. Many computers are dumped or given away when they are still in perfect conditions, only because somebody or something forced their owners, without a real need, to use some new software program which is (often without real reason!
  • October 10 2010 (10/10/10) is the day chosen for a Global Work Party that nobody should miss: _"The place is wherever you live. And the point is to do something that will help deal with global warming in your city or community. We’re calling it a Global Work Party, with emphasis on both 'work' and 'party'. In Auckland, New Zealand, they’re having a giant bike fix-up day, to get every bicycle in the city back on the road.
  • It’s weird how things that seem completely unrelated are, in fact, more or less connected. On February 5th, 2010, just five days after the traffic ban in Milan, with caused a storm of discussions, an absolutely unusual event, that is some inches of snow falling in full winter, created even more chaos than usual on the streets of Milan and all the surrounding area. During that afternoon, the speakers of Caterpillar (a popular talk-show on a national radio station asked to all Milan citizens who were listening inside their cars to call and tell how long they had already been blocked in the streets and how long they thought they would still remain there.
  • On January 31st, 2010, Milan and a few neighbor areas declared a total traffic ban to reduce air pollution. Since such measures are already used in other countries or may be adopted in the coming years, the protests and questions raised in that occasion are useful to think about the real usefulness of traffic bans in general.On that day, several smaller cities around Milan did not declare traffic bans, many citizens and local administrators publicly declared that traffic bans are simply useless or, at least, discriminatory and proposed in the wrong way to citizens.
  • Back in December 2009 I wrote about an issue that is still (rightly!) drawing lots of attention in Italy, the so-called “privatization of water”. In that article I explained why, in practice, public or private water management can make very little difference for citizens if all the related data aren’t published online, in real time, with an open license, and noted that Australia wanted to do just that.
  • Some days ago I heard a radio interview to workers and Union representatives of the FIAT car manufacturing plant in Termini Imerese, Sicily. FIAT management announced this year that they plan to stop car production in that plant by the end of 2011, because it is not convenient anymore. The thing that impressed me the most in the interviews were people declaring that “in Italy we produce too few cars!
  • If you are one of the several billions people around the world who want or must use a cell phone, here are some good news: last week, instead of inventing yet another model of cell phone, industry representatives agreed to on something that will both reduce pollution and save you money!
  • (this page is part of the Family Guide to Digital Freedom, 2007 edition. Please do read that introduction to know more about the Guide, especially if you mean to comment this page. Thanks) Does Software pollute? Of course it does. The average USA citizen, for example, produces 4.6 lbs of solid waste per day, and an ever growing part of it is software. Sure, software is just instructions, the immaterial part of a computer and many other electronic devices.