Archive for category Politics

A $9,000 water bill

“When I have a dollar to blow on a bottle of water, I buy Perrier!” quipped Robin Williams in his late ’70s stand-up days.

It killed. The audience howled at Williams’ derision of paying a lot of money for something we get nearly for free from the tap, especially when the EPA does a very good job enforcing water quality standards in the country.

Today, bottled water is a $50 billion business globally. We consume copious amounts of energy and fossil fuels to produce, fill, and ship plastic bottles of water while 1/6 of the world’s population (over a billion people) do not have access to reliable potable water.

The math from a recent Fast Company article is particularly illuminating:

If the water we use at home cost what even cheap bottled water costs, our monthly water bills would run $9,000.


The White Roof — Steven Chu is right!

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has advocated painting roofs white as a cost saving measure that also reduces the impact of climate change.  The theory is that more heat would be reflected, thereby lowering a building’s cooling costs, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions because we’re using less power to cool the building.

An article (blog entry) on Time magazine’s website says studies have concluded that whitening a roof actually works and can make it 20% more cost effective to cool your house on hot days.  I’d love to see links to the studies, but the physics makes enough sense that I believe it.

You can read the article here:

Here in sunny South Carolina, I spend more on air conditioning in summer than I do on heating in winter.  When my roof is due for an overhaul (and those shingles are getting pretty old), I will be looking into a light colored rooftop.

Art imitates life

Tina Fey is a deadringer for Sarah Palin. Funny stuff.

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