Results for environment

Below are the posts that should have something to do with 'environment'.

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Plastic Bags, ban them!

500 billion is the number of plastic bags consumed worldwide every year (1 million per minute), and 500 is the amount of years it takes for a plastic bag to decay in a landfill.

Spurred by a filmmaker’s documentary, the English town of Modbury became the first in Europe to ban plastic bags outright.

Turtle eating a plastic bag
Turtle eating a plastic bag


It was watching sea creatures choke on plastic bags in the Pacific Ocean that finally persuaded Rebecca Hosking that enough was enough. The British filmmaker had already recoiled in disgust at deserted Hawaiian beaches piled up with four feet of rubbish, the jetsam of Western consumerism washed up by an ocean teeming with plastic. Now, filming off the coast, she looked on aghast as sea turtles eagerly mistook bobbing translucent shapes in the water for jellyfish

A good reminder to bring my own bag when going shopping and to decline extra bags if I can carry the items (or stick them in the bag I got with something I bought earlier). When doing groceries without a bag, I like to use discarded product boxes (the ones they stock from) which later serve as “old paper” recycling storage boxes in my home.

Printer says cartridge is empty? Better wait and see…

Related: , , , Posted in random posts on Jun 20, 2007 - comment 0 comments
TUV Rheinland logo

Ars Technica is reporting that you better not believe your inkjet printer when it tells you the cartridge is empty.

Epson commissioned tests (by TÜV Rheinland) to measure the environmental impact of ink waste and to back up its assertion that it’s less wasteful — as well as cheaper — to use a printer that has individual color tanks.

From Ars Technica:

A new study says that on average, more than half of the ink from inkjet cartridges is wasted when users toss them in the garbage. Why is that interesting? According to the study, users are tossing the cartridges when their printers are telling them they’re out of ink, not when they necessarily are out of ink.

I’ve been printing on my laser printer for months now with the toner warning LED flashing constantly. Didn’t even shake the toner yet…

Link via Boing Boing

Homegrown Sounds releases Astralis VSTi Synthesizer Pack v1.1

Homegrown Sounds Astralis

Homegrown Sounds has released version 1.1 of Astralis VSTi Synthesizer Pack, a bundle which initially comprises of 2 synthesizers: Astralis A and Astralis B (which is a slightly simpler single synth version).

New in v1.1

  • A Bank of 16 patches by Tim Conrardy added for Astralis B
  • Added Pitch Bend on\off per synth/oscillator
  • In the master section is a new slider for setting the pitch bend Keyboard range so that only a specific area will be affected by pitch bend.
  • All slider ends are now fine controls for moving small increments.
  • Microtonal Patches can now be installed anywhere.
  • All synths now display the correct version number.
  • Register box now displays correctly.
  • Arp now correctly stops all notes when switched off
  • Numerous other minor enhancements and bug fixes

Patches from previous versions are not compatible due to the large changes in v1.1. These versions have a unique ID and can be installed alongside though it is recommended that you recreate your patches in 1.1, this is the unfortunate sacrifice for some of the improved functionality.

A license for Astralis can still be purchased for the introductory price of US 29.89 (50% off).

Visit Homegrown Sounds for more information and a 30-day trial version of Astralis v1.1.
You can read more about the full set of features of the Astralis synths on this page.

Novuzeit releases X-FX Series

Novuzeit X-FX Series

Novuzeit has released X-FX Series, a collection of 10 classic audio effects.

Jack Dark writes:

X-FX represents 10 high quality individual VST units (listed below) that offer traditional FX with enhanced control parameter options. For example, nearly every control knob on an X-FX unit supports its own individual LFO for self-automation. Most X-FX units allow tweaking of the left and right stereo channels independently (where sensibly applicable).

X-FX includes the following plugins:

  • Analog filter, vintage filter designed for analog warmth
  • Chorus, with large variety of options
  • Comb filter, including state variable filtering
  • Delay, interesting modulation options for glitchy weirdness
  • Distortion, decibel quantizing, bitcrushing and waveshaping
  • Overdrive, designed to emulate the sounds of a variety of tube amplifiers
  • Pan-Vol, LFO controlled volume shaping / stereo panning
  • Phlanger, a combination phaser and flanger unit
  • Reverb, with a few twists
  • Stereoize, turn your mono into stereo

The full version of X-FX gets rid of the random periodic silence and includes the user manual. You can purchase the X-FX series is currently only $20.00 USD.

Visit the X-FX page for more information on each individual effect plugin, screenshots, demo sounds and a to download a demo of the X-FX Series.

Wusikstation V3 Combo Group-Buy Bonanza

Wusikstation v3 (Asseca Cream skin)

Wusik’s WilliamK has come up with a new promotion for Wusikstation, a totally insane group-buy.

The idea is to reach 150,000 users, at which point you get the following for just $1.95 USD:

  • Full copy of Wusikstation V3 VSTi (Windows version only)
  • Two Gig Collection set of sounds
  • 3 Past Issues of the Wusik Sound Magazine (of your choice)

So how does this work? William explains:

To enter this Group-Buy, you need to pay a non refundable $ 1.95 USD fee. If we reach over 149,999 users, you don’t need to pay anything else. If we don’t reach this amount, you can opt to purchase a regular version using this $ 1.95 as credit. We will not refund any payments if we don’t reach the max amount. We will only start the delivery of the software once we reach over 150,000 users.

150,000 users seems a bit steep perhaps, but at least you’ll just risk $ 1.95, which you can also use towards buying Wusikstation or a WSM (magazine) for the regular price in case the group-buy does not reach its target.

The group-buy will end December 10th 2007.

Visit Wusik’s group-buy page for more information.

Sony odo: environmentally-friendly gear

I’ve experienced some “oh no, batteries died!” moments in the past, so it’s cool to see a big player is coming up with a whole range of gear which a) does not require batteries to operate, b) is environmentally friendly!

Sony odo: Spin N' Snap
Sony odo: Spin N’ Snap

From Engadget:

One of the more interesting devices of the lot is the Spin N’ Snap digital camera (pictured above), which you charge up simply by placing your fingers in the two holes (which also double as a viewfinder) and spinning it around a few times. Taking a slightly different but equally non-power-hungry route is the Crank N’ Capture camera, which can also apparently capture video of some sort. Rounding out the line up are the Pull N’ Play stereo headphones, the Push POWER Play device (apparently a viewer of some sort), which you charge by rolling it back and forth on a table, and the “Juice Box,” which packs a fold out solar panel that can be used to charge your other devices.

Go Sony!

Link via MakeZine

Citarum river, a shocking display of abuse

Related: , , , , Posted in random posts on Jun 07, 2007 - comment 18 comments

The Citarum river near the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, displays the abuse that mankind has subjected it to.

Citarum river pollution (West Java, Indonesia)
Citarum river pollution (West Java, Indonesia)

From the Daily Mail:

More than 500 factories, many of them producing textiles which require chemical treatment, line the banks of the 200-mile river, the largest waterway in West Java, spewing waste into the water.

Where once fishermen cast their nets, now people are foraging for rubbish. Sad story…

Link via Kottke

What do cows eat anyway?

I’m not terribly involved in health or environmental issues, but reading this article on Gristmill did make me think a bit more about the food I eat.

I grew up in a rural area in the Netherlands so I’m quite used to seeing cows in pastures. If you’d ask me what cows eat, grass would be my first answer. I know there aren’t enough pastures to feed all the cows we need for the enormous amount of meat the market demands (if you need a reason to boycott places like McDonalds just remember they allow rainforest to be cut down to rear cows, which incidentally emit huge amounts of methane, being a major contribution to global warming etc.), but still my answer instinctively would be grass.

Cow (nose) by .eti
Image of a cow (nose) by .eti

My wife was a vegan for several years and her motives for doing so helped me understand a bit more about what we are doing to animals and the environment to satisfy our appetite for meat, dairy and other animal products. Her current job also shows me many issues with the way we produce all sorts of items with blatant disregard of public health and environmental issues (chemicals in children’s toys, food modification, air pollution etc.) causing a massive rise in various diseases like cancer, which is a huge financial burden on society. Money is a perfect motivator, so thanks to the insurance industry public awareness is increasing (just like with global warming, which causes more natural disasters, which cost a lot of money).

Meat at the grocery store (image by Diane Duane)

But still many people are unaware of what it is exactly they purchase. So when I buy beef, where does it come from?

Julia Olmstead was strolling by the meat counter at her regional mid-sized grocery chain and thought, “hey, I should ask for grass-fed beef, ’cause they’ll only carry it if they perceive demand”.

I can identify with this as my wife often wants to alert a lack of biological products in grocery shops or she simply wants to point out more environmental friendly ways to do things at various place we go.

Anyway, this is how the conversation between Julia and the butcher went:

Me: Hi, do you have any grass-fed beef?
Butcher: Hmm, grass-fed? I don’t think you can feed grass to cows.
Me: Well, they’re ruminant animals, so I think that’s what they’re supposed to eat.
Butcher: [sympathetic-but-authoritative head shake] I don’t think so. They need vitamins and minerals and stuff.
Me: Uh …
Butcher: Now this [points down at large, marbled slab in meat case], this is corn-fed beef.
Me: Yeah, well, um, thanks anyway.

Check Julia’s The Myth of Grass-fed Beef at Gristmill for more on this and many interesting comments following her post.