The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

Archive for the ‘Environmental Action’ Category

The economics and time-frame of climate change

The economics and time-frame of climate change

Do you remember the other climate change issue? Think “ozone hole.”

High altitude ozone (not ground level ozone) shields Earth from the suns ultraviolet radiation. Stratospheric ozone is nature’s sun-block and it was being depleted by man-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), with the DuPont trade name “Freon.”

In 1978 the United States banned the use of CFCs such as Freon in aerosol cans. This was the beginning of a long series of regulatory actions against their use. The critical DuPont manufacturing patent for Freon expired in 1979 and in 1986 DuPont, with patents for replacement products in hand, publicly condemned CFCs.

Argentine scientists recently announced, “This year the ozone hole season was much shorter than in earlier years,” and it was not as large.

The observations confirm the findings of the latest report on the issue by the United Nations published in 2010. The study concluded that CFC elimination was having an effect and the ozone hole was not growing – a sign of recovery.

However, an expert pointed out, “we have not yet returned to the radiation levels we had in 1980,” since the chemicals that destroy ozone take 10 years to reach the stratosphere, and then the ozone layer takes time to recover.

Be happy DuPont saw the government regulation of CFCs to give it a profitable competitive advantage.

Al Jazeera – Hopes grow on shrinking ozone hole
Wikipedia – Chlorofluorocarbon


Written by Tom Fox

11/25/2012 at 8:50 am


It has been, what? . . . maybe three years now since I replaced the kitchen lights with doodly bulbs (also known as compact fluorescent light bulbs). I’ve written about it here, and here too.  Not to mention here.

This morning one of the three lights was dark.  Well, I thought, it had to happen sometime.  Sooner or later these squiggly bulbs had to wear out, and today was the day for the first of them to go bad.

But, I was mistaken.  The bulb had come loose in the socket.  When I touched it lightly, it came alive and lit up. Onward we go.

Now, screw the future requires a bit of explanation.  It’s a play on words, you see.  First, the doodly-squiggly bulbs have the shape of a screw, or spiral.  Second, what do you do with a light bulb?  You screw it into a light socket, of course.

Get it?  When you screw in a doodly-squiggly compact fluorescent light bulb to replace an incandescent light bulb, you are screwing the future.

Question:  “Mommy, how many people does it take to change a Doodley Bulb?”

Answer: “I don’t know, darlin’. We’ve never had to change one.”

Written by Tom Fox

12/14/2008 at 9:37 am

Posted in Environmental Action

Tagged with

Amazon Supersaver shipping – I’m impressed

When ordering from, I always choose the free Supersaver shipping option.

  1. I’m cheap.
  2. I’m not going to run out of things to do or books to read anytime soon, so I’m not in any hurry.
  3. Amazon Supersaver ships through the Unites States Postal Service. Since my postal person delivers to the house six days a week anyway, using Supersaver shipping is fuel efficient. In other words, Supersaver is super green.
  4. I’m cheap.

I ordered Avinash Kaushik’s book Web Analytics: An Hour a Day on Friday September 14th, and I already know that I’m going to like it.

The package from arrived today, Wednesday September 19th, in three business days. That is one more reason to use Amazon’s Supersaver, it is usually very fast. Especially when you consider that I live in Kentucky.

But, there are a few things that would probably surprise you about Kentucky. For example,’s main printing facility is located here in Louisville, Kentucky.

Full Disclosure: If you order the book using the link above, Amazon pays me a buck, more or less. This is an affiliate link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and I’m worth it. Be sure to order something in addition to this book, to get you over the $25 threshold for Amazon Supersaver, and select that as your shipping option. You save $10.20 over bookstore prices, if you can find this title in a bookstore, you get free delivery to your door, I make a dollar, and it is Super Green to boot.

Written by Tom Fox

09/19/2007 at 11:45 am

The power of suggestion

I read this on The Power of Thought blog today. Yahoo puts marketing muscle into climate campaign.

“Yahoo, Inc. . . . is on Monday introducing Yahoo Green, an online education program ( that will offer users the latest environmental news, consumer tips and ways to be personally and socially active in combating climate change . . . .”

This is all very nice and useful, but Yahoo could also scour its many web properties for little incandescent light bulb graphics used to symbolize a bright idea, and replace them with little compact fluorescent light bulb graphics. Google and Amazon could do the same.

Here’s an example from the Google Analytics page as it is now:

Google incandescent

This is how it could be:

Google fluorescent

The incandescent light bulb is a Nineteenth Century invention. Through the decades the image of an incandescent light bulb has come to be accepted as a symbol for inspired thinking.

The time has come for the image of an incandescent bulb to symbolize backward and outdated thinking. It is time for the image of an incandescent bulb to be retired from use by graphic designers around the world.

Symbolists of the world unite! Stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me in resisting the tyranny of the past!

(end soapbox mode)

Written by Tom Fox

05/13/2007 at 6:06 pm

Doodley Bulbs Are Squiggly!

Seth is wondering why the vast majority of people refuse to do the right thing, and have so far refrained from using compact fluorescent light bulbs. How many bloggers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Strike one against the idea is associating the product with the word “fluorescent.” This may be the technically correct nomenclature for the critters, but it has very little to do with the actual experience of them.

When I hear the word fluorescent, I think of the movie “Joe and the Volcano,” a great parable starring the very young Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The movie starts with Hank’s character reporting for work in his sputtering fluorescent-lit institutional hell of an office. The lighting makes everyone look like a corpse, and the one tiny bit of warmth in the place is a small incandescent table lamp that Hanks pulls out of his desk drawer when he arrives.

That’s how I think of fluorescent bulbs . . . cold with an irritating flicker. But that is not the reality of the compact fluorescent light bulbs that I purchased about a year ago in a package of four for ten dollars, or $2.50 apiece. These little money-saving gems have the same warm glow of a normal incandescent bulb, there is zero flicker, and no start-up delay. If you didn’t know they were compact fluorescent light bulbs by looking at their unusual shape, you’d never tell the difference.

The first thing I’d do is stop calling them compact fluorescent light bulbs. I’d think of a different name altogether. Something like “Doodley Bulbs,” or “Squiggly Bulbs,” in tacit recognition of the spiral shape many have. It would not be compact fluorescent light bulbs vs. light bulbs, it would be Doodley Bulbs vs. Incandescents, and I’d target mothers with small children.

You can grab a Doodley Bulb with your bare hand and not get burned. Doodley Bulbs are safer for infants and children. You can hardly set your home on fire with a Doodley Bulb, but incandescent bulbs are HOT, HOT, HOT! Why do you think they call them incandescent?

Grab Mom’s attention and the rest of the world will fall into line.

Mommy, how many people does it take to change a Doodley Bulb?

I don’t know, darlin’. We’ve never had to change one.

Are you STILL incandescent? Tsk.

Help! My home is incandescent!

Get Doodley. Be Squiggly.

“I can make you feel, but I can’t make you think”
Thick as a Brick

Read my update from March 9, 2008, I love compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Written by Tom Fox

01/03/2007 at 12:26 pm