Today, I sent out the emails I wrote about yesterday. Over the next week, I hope to read up on the debate over carbon capture efforts. As I do, I hope to write questions that will lead me to answers and to other experts in this debate (and further questions). As such, I will slow down the blog posts to once a week (or less – it truly depends on how quickly people respond)
Until next week, stay comfortable in our ever-warming planet, dear readers.
So, the takeaways from the past three blog posts are (among other things) –
The only way to have a chance at reversing climate change (and the damage it will do to all of us) is to remove more greenhouse gases from the environment year-over-year than what mankind (and the Earth itself) release into the atmosphere.
The amount of carbon dioxide released in the past year weighed approximately sixty billion tons.
For the purpose of this thought exercise, I am going to presuppose that we as a planet hold emissions year over year to that sixty billion ton level. This is problematic, as data points to a steady rise in emissions year-over-year. Still, sixty billion gives me a number to work with – and is the most recent yearly emission levels available.
Carbon capture technology exists in many forms. Chemists have toyed with synthetic petroleum since at least the 1920s. One company that I know of in the synthetic petroleum business is Changing World Technologies (CWT). Though CWT is not the only company in the world that has developed a process to turn plastics and other carbon-based waste into oil, they are (for a number of reasons) the company in this line of work that I know the most about.
CWT’s oil production process uses heat and pressure to convert anything from yard clippings to animal waste to discarded plastic into oil. And the process does this in a matter of hours. As CO2 is carbon-based, can a process be devised (if one does not already exist) to combine CO2 and discarded plastic to create petroleum (science leads me to believe the answer is yes) using a process similar to the one Changing World Technologies uses? Such a process would help to address rising CO2 emissions by locking carbon from CO2 back into a liquid form. It would help reduce plastic waste by recycling spent plastic back into petroleum. And this petroleum could then be pumped back into the ground to keep it out of circulation. If the amount of carbon from the CO2 and other greenhouse gases is greater than the amount of carbon emissions in a given year, our planet’s climate might (over a long period of time) reset itself to more life-friendly levels.
Simple logic so far.
Today, I will write an email to CWT and to Howard Herzog. I will ask CWT’s media relations department about the energy use of CWT’s machines compared to petroleum output (among other questions). I will also try to start a dialog with Mr. Herzog that, among other things, will hopefully lead me to individuals around the world working on carbon capture technology. Starting tomorrow, I hope to broaden this thought experiment to include plastics.
It should be self-evident that, if one accepts the concept of climate change (and the science behind it), in order to reverse climate change, human beings must curb the growth in yearly CO2 emissions. If more CO2 is added to the environment every year than what is removed (through carbon capture), how can climate change be reversed? For this particular thought exercise, I am going to assume that the world somehow manages to hold yearly CO2 emissions to a steady rate of 60 billion tons.
With this amount of CO2 established, tomorrow (actually, this evening), I hope to lay the groundwork for what removing 60 billion tons (and 1 pound) of CO2 from the atmosphere every year could actually look like.
So, in regards to yesterday’s post, the take-aways I have are as follows –
Without sustained, long-term efforts to remove greenhouse gases from the environment, global warming will get worse (United Nations Global Environment Outlook for 2019, 44). Second, the changes precipitated by global warming will have numerous unwanted consequences around the world – with the possibility to cause mass extinctions, global food crises, economic catastrophe, and a host of other problems that no one needs. Even if one were to do away with the most dire scenarios being forecast (such as the end of human civilization by 2050), is it so hard to accept the following points –
The strain of the costs of global warming on governments and families worldwide will force more and more individuals into poverty, increase human migrations from the warmer areas of the world (areas closer to the Equator) to areas nearer the Poles, and destabilize and outright overwhelm governments worldwide. Human conflicts over basic necessities will increase. Meanwhile, governments struggling with providing basic social programs for their citizens (and migrants) will find it increasingly difficult to maintain order within their borders.
So much for doing away with ‘the most dire scenarios.’ This all looks kind of bleak. Though technology can address the freshwater crisis that global warming makes worse, things like desalinization plants (that make saltwater … unsalty?) have their own issues. Most experts agree that desalinization cannot solve the host of problems the world will see from global warming – as outlined above.
Starting tomorrow, then, I hope to outline a thought experiment in earnest. And, as the days and weeks stretch ahead, I hope to get others involved, too. Hope springs eternal. I think it’s time to hope – and act … for all of us
Welcome to the first part of a thought challenge. Today’s challenge is climate change. I will not attempt to frame the total mess our planet’s climate is in here. If one wants to read the work of others who have done this much better than I could, try this article. Or this one. Or – this one.
Still with me? Rockin’! What I will attempt to do here is outline – in very broad strokes – thoughts on how climate change can be fought. For any of you wishing to know why Nika and I are writing about this on her blog – well, Nika would tell you that thinking is what Thought-werks do best. I have to agree with her.
So, time to think.
On the face of it, climate change is a simple concept. Carbon is a basic building block of life on our planet, and all known life on Earth is carbon-based. When something dies, all of that body’s carbon is open to being released back into the world. That release can happen in any number of ways. One of the ways the release tends to happen is as a gas. The gases can be carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, or any of a number of other carbon-linked gases. These gases trap and hold heat from the sun.
Don’t believe me? Wrap yourself in carbon paper and stand out in direct sunlight on a hot day. Then, try standing out after wrapping yourself in bleached paper. Which is warmer? Tomorrow, I look at the United Nations Global Environment Outlook for 2019.
What follows is a transcript of the interview of Nika Thought-werk conducted by Miss Ceejay Writer for Fantasy Faire’s Litfest 2019. To view a sample of the upcoming book discussed by Miss Writer and Miss Thought-werk during the interview (The Clockwork’s Orange: Tales of the Robot Nika, Volume Two), please click on the following link: https://wp.me/a6pfGX-cj
The full version of this children’s novel will be available for sale from Amazon.com as of May 7, 2019. Special Thanks go out to Miss Ceejay Writer, Miss Saffia Widdershins, and the entire Fantasy Faire staff for the countless hours they have volunteered to make this event and the ones to come happen. Nika says she had a great time.
**** INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT FOLLOWS ****
Nika Thought-werk Nika Thought-werk waves
Ceejay Writer: Nika, feel
free to find a cozy seat!
Ceejay Writer: Saffia! Our special guest is here, and all
ready to go.
Saffia Widdershins: Hi! I can’t stay … as it’s 3am but
shall I send a notice?
Nika Thought-werk Nika Thought-werk folds her hands quietly and waits to begin
Ceejay Writer: So polite!
Nika Thought-werk Nika Thought-werk smiles at Miss Edda
Ceejay Writer: Please, if you could Saffia?
Jimmy Branagh: Aren’t the speaker’s seat up here?
Edda Underwood (edan.borrelly)Edda Underwood (edan.borrelly)
finds a comfy place to sit, “Hi, everyone”
Ceejay Writer: They are, but I gave Nika the choice to be
anwhere she likes.
Philip Underwood (pilipo.underwood): Hey everbuddy!
Jimmy Branagh: Ah okie
Ceejay Writer: Hi Philip!
Nika Thought-werk Nika Thought-werk waves to Mister Underwood and to the others
Jimmy Branagh: Hoy Mr. Philip!
Saffia Widdershins: Hello Mr Philip and Jimmy.
Ceejay Writer: We will start in a few minutes, let’s give
people fighting the lag monsters time to slay them.
Nika Thought-werk nods “I know about fighting monsters a
Ceejay Writer: If you wish, you could tell us about that
Jimmy Branagh: An’ Hoy Miss Saffia!
Philip Underwood (pilipo.underwood): Hullow Jimmeh
Nika Thought-werk Nika Thought-werk blinks and waits quietly.
Ceejay Writer: Welcome to Trollmouth, everyone! Take a seat
anywhere, and never mind the curves, we are on a tongue. 🙂
Ceejay Writer: We will be in text today, so give your ears a
Jimmy Branagh: Let’s hope the swallows don’t return
Edda Underwood (edan.borrelly): do trolls eat bats? this would be a BIG bat cave!
Ceejay Writer: Miss
Nika Thought-werk, here on the couch near me, is many things. A postal worker, a soldier, a very good poet
though she says clockworks can’t write poetry, and along with her ghost in the
other world, an author.
Nika Thought-werk Nika Thought-werk blinks and turns her head to face the audience
“Trolls eat many things. So bats … maybe?”
Nika Thought-werk Nika Thought-werk blinks and smiles.
Ceejay Writer: She has also recently created a new way of
printing books in Second Life.
Edda Underwood (edan.borrelly)Edda Underwood (edan.borrelly)
applauds Nika, but quietly
When planning out my week last week, I knew I was going to be busy. I am deep in illustrating for my second book in The Tales of the Robot Nika book series and up against a deadline. That means I have to crank out pictures for it whether I like the pictures or not (and I don’t have much room to slow down). I had another Postage Stampsstrip to plot out and draw (which is oddly enough turning into a gag-a-week strip. Given how heavy most of my writing is, the comic is a nice change). I had an online game to write in an html framework called Sugar Cube. I had a newsletter to produce for the week. I also had to reach out and follow up on a number of publishing tasks. I knew I would not have a lot of time for reading.
So, in order to keep with book review schedules. I chose a short story to review for today. The Pig-Keeper’s Assistant is a recent addition to the Amazon library. It is a short story that I could read in an hour. It is a steampunk take on a classic fairy tale.
What’s not to love – about love?
The characters and the setting evoke the flavor of period pieces like the Poldark series and Little Women. The author, listed as E. Long, beautifully weaves the romantic characterizations of women in love as they were often depicted in Victorian times with steampunk tropes – all squeezed into the framework of a Hans Christian Anderson classic. I would almost love it. I love the story itself – but there is a downside. The author nails so many high points in this retelling – and I can’t wait to read more from them. If they are a young author, as the story’s acknowledgements suggest, I think they may have a very bright future ahead.
The downside to this gem is grammar. The author is amazing (in my opinion). However, it was impossible for me to let myself go and lose myself in this story (I truly wanted to) due to the number of grammatical mistakes and misused words (sediments in place of sentiments, for example). Things like this happen to any of us – and this is nothing a good editor can’t fix. That said, I hope the author gives things another go soon – just with a solid proofreader at their side.
They are displaying a real talent here.
This is Victorian-era romance at its finest, and if you can look past grammar to enjoy a nice, quick little dose of story, this may be just what the doctor ordered. You can find The Pig-Keeper’s Assistant for sale in the Amazon Kindle store here.
Anyone that knows me knows I am a huge fan of the 1910s-1930s. I love the work of Charlie Chaplin, Clarence Ashley, Washington Phillips, and Elsie Segar more than I will probably ever like Tom Cruise, Lady Gaga, or Robert Kirkman. Not to say anything bad of artists and actors from this day and age – just … we all have our preferences. I knew about Elsie Segar, George Herriman, W.W. Denslow, and Winsor McCay prior to trying to learn to draw. Ub Iwerks was a different story. I discovered Ub through diving into a study of Walt Disney (specifically early-Disney). It’s through that study – and discovering Ub – that I discovered the book A Mouse Divided: How Ub Iwerks Became Forgotten and Walt Disney Became Uncle Walt.
This story is gripping – and I would suggest it for anyone who is a fan of Disney, animation, art, or who is trying to start a business. Why? Throughout its pages, Mr. Ryan builds a story of two men who would build one of the largest companies in world history. Their destinies would be intertwined whether they wished it or not. Walt Disney is shown as very much a man who started from nothing and never gave up. Because of his perseverance, his string of bankruptcies would lead to the creation of a multimedia powerhouse. This was not something he could do alone. At his right hand in his early days was Ub Iwerks – an animation and technical genius.
It’s at this point that the book resonates for me. For anyone just starting out on a new path in life, self-doubt can be a constant companion. Recognizing and playing to one’s strengths is essential. In A Mouse Divided, Jeff Ryan presents the strengths and personalities of Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks – and how these two men were essential in the rise of the House of Mouse. And, when it becomes time for Ub Iwerks to decide if he will stay with Disney, the book makes it understandable why he wouldn’t. Here though, is the rub.
Walt Disney pressed on through the 1930s – and Disney the company survived. Disney played to his strengths. Ub didn’t – at least not initially. Disney would keep pressing on, and he would go on to build a team to give to his company what Ub had before. The character study is immense, intense, and informative for anyone trying to start a business – or trying to start over. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. You shouldn’t expect it to be. And more often than not, the two strongest determinants to success are recognizing and playing to your strengths – and simply pressing on when everyone else thinks it would be mad to keep going.
If one is merely seeking a book on Walt Disney, Ub Iwerks, the early history of Walt Disney Studios, or animation, this has you covered. You won’t go wrong adding this book to your library. Here, for me, the fact that Jeff Ryan is able to include as thorough a picture of Iwerk’s studio (for the time it is in existence) as he does and what went on there is a bit of a gem.
There is one last point in the book that Mister Ryan makes that – in retrospect – almost brings me to tears. The author explains the almost seeming absence of Mickey from the movies as Disney progresses on to today. The movies, America, and the world are not what they were when Mickey Mouse first debuted in 1928. In so many ways, I wish they were. Optimism is never, ever a bad thing. At its heart, optimism keeps us going when the world tells us to do everything but that. That optimism, coupled by sheer small-town niceness and decency characterized Midwestern boys made good.
That niceness and optimism would become the hallmark of their most famous creation – in a world that first embodied – and then sorely needed – niceness and optimism more than ever. Walt Disney Studios, in this world of ours, I wonder if Mickey Mouse isn’t needed now as much as he ever has been.
This sweet coming-of-age story by Lori Alden Holuta is the second installment of stories dealing with the fictional land of Industralia (the first being the short-story The Steamkettle Kids Save The Day). In a number of ways, this outing is superior to the other works of Miss Holuta’s that have been reviewed so far – which is to be expected (it is, after all, approximately ten times longer).
Miss Holuta uses that extra space to focus on the development of her characters – and her main character. The reader becomes acquainted with Constance quickly. From there, no matter who she might run into or whatever she might face, there is no doubt that this is her story. The depth of care that Miss Holuta invests in her writing pays huge dividends, too. Whether one is prowling the bookstore with Constance after hours, knee deep in circus life, riding alongside a new friend on a junk wagon, or booking a one-way ticket to a new home, the twists and turns are developed nicely and insure the reader wants to find out what happens next.
One criticism of the story itself is that the plot (at times) moves a bit too smoothly. Constance almost always seems to have help at hand exactly when she needs it – which might be off-putting to some. Still, the imagery and the characters bring to mind recent movies such as Big Fish and Dumbo. I can almost see Constance spinning the tale as a yarn that is mostly true (and that glosses over the rougher bits of her tale). Even were this not the case and the story happened just as it is presented, this is a fine story for young adults – or a not-so-young adult searching for a bit of wonder and a pick-me-up in the here and now.
The Flight To Brassbright is available on Amazon, Second Life, and wherever fine books are sold (if you ask the booksellers to carry it).
Lori Alden Holuta serves up an extra helping of Industralia with her third novella in the series – A Life Invented. As with the previous two installments, the story is aimed at young adults – but it is something that can be enjoyed by someone of any age. The story focuses on slices in the life of Gerard Liddle, a character first introduced in the novel A Flight To Brassbright.
Enough of an introduction – what about an actual review?
As with her previous outings, Miss Holuta presents a happy little world where the conflicts are quickly resolved and – at their best – lead to learning opportunities for all involved. It’s also refreshing to see a family – and parents – working to understand a child on the child’s own terms. The glimpses that the author provides of Gerard’s life like this are sweet, refreshing, and – for the children and young adults reading them – must be affirming and hopeful.
If one might level a criticism to this type of story, though, is that it is short – and presents numerous events (in a very short space). Out of the three stories in this series so far, the first (Steamkettle Kids) seems to be the strongest.
All three stories are short (no more than 35 or so pages apiece). The Steamkettle Kids Save The Day excels compared to the other two stories because it uses this space to present the readers with a believable and small roster of characters. In the space of the story, the author then presents the reader with a concise story and a central conflict. This type of storytelling is as old as storytelling itself. It works because it invests the reader in the characters (who seem not so different from themselves). It lets the readers care – and want to know what happens next.
In comparison, both A Life Invented and The Legend of the Engineer are a little less refined – for different reasons. In The Legend of the Engineer, there is a central conflict (will there be enough coal for the Engineer?). Still, the central character in this conflict (Margaret) is presented in a very short space of the story’s short space. More could have been done to develop the conflict and the characters – and this would have helped pull readers in, keep them focused, and make them yearn for more. Still, the reader has a conflict. The reader has a character. The story has all it needs from which to grow from a good story – to a great one. The focus just needs to be there.
In A Life Invented, the reader has a central character (Gerard). There are conflicts (tons of them). Still, short spaces and a lack of focus can lead to an uneven story. A central conflict in the short space of story would help focus Gerard, help readers invest themselves in him, and help readers keep coming back for more.
There is a ton (of bricks of good – not being tossed by a trebuchet) good in A Life Invented. It’s optimistic. It’s warm. It presents a picture of parenting done right. These are things young readers need to … read. Still, focused stories help younger readers focus. Focused stories help focus characters (which help all readers care about them). And characters readers care about help readers keep coming back and wanting more.
Just my two cents. Feel free to share your feelings in the comments below. A Life Invented is available both on Amazon and in Second Life.