I is not PAT

Here’s an equation, a nice simple little equation: I = PAT The equation was developed in the 1970s during the course of a debate between Barry Commoner, Paul R. Ehrlich and John Holdren. This little equation has had a big effect over the years on environmentalists and how they think and talk about the problems we face and how we should be trying to tackle them.

Earth 2100

In 2100 my son will be the same age my father is now. When my father was born the world was emitting just under a billion tonnes of carbon per year. When my son was born we were emitting almost 9 billion tonnes a year and global CO2 levels had increased by about 30%. Questions: How old is my son? How old is my father? What will the world be like in 2100?

The three Goldilocks

Three Goldilocks planets discovered orbiting the same star. They’re all in the Goldilocks zone where water can exist in liquid form, which is supposedly necessary for life as we know it. Perhaps any kind of life. Almost certainly for any kind of advanced life, though who can be sure? So if advanced civilizations developed on one or more of those planets they would quite likely visited the other life-supporting planets in their system at an early stage of development, the stage we’re at know, and perhaps in learning about those other planets that were quite like their home planet they…

On sharing and toddler nature

The Professor’s mother mentioned how she thought some parents treated their children like little adults. She thought this was wrong. I asked her what she meant. Could she give me an example? All sorts of things could be described as trying to get children to behave like adults. Teaching them to walk, for instance, or encouraging them to walk as I don’t think it’s something you really teach them. A couple of days later she got onto the subject again and it was only then that it was clear she was referring to my efforts to get The Professor to…

The weather in Iceland

A strong gale warning (more than 20 m/s) is in effect for many parts, except in the east. There’s a snow storm outside at the moment. I took a walk around the back gardens of the flats I’m staying in. There’s a semi-communal grassy area with benches, though this evening the grass has become covered in snow. It’s just gone midnight. The wind has become stronger. It was a struggle walking against it back to the back door of the flat.

Iceland

Iceland has a population of 300,000 people, most of whom live in Reykjavik. The tap water here smells of sulphur. According to the National Museum of Iceland, 65% of the original female settlers came from the British Isles whereas most of the original male settlers were Scandanavians.

The Brixton Hill laughing man

I saw the laughing man this morning as I went to the shop. I used to see him a lot but haven’t seen him for quite a while, though I’ve been away. He’s an old Jamaican guy who is always laughing his head off, muttering something to himself and just laughing. He was walking down St. Saviours Road. I crossed the road to avoid him, fearing that if I got too close I might start laughing as well and not be able to stop.

The Stasi Museum, Berlin

The Stasi museum is well hidden. I had to ask directions twice, and still I was wandering around some estate where I was told it was supposed to be. It was only when I was about to give up that I saw a clock with something on it, something that’s hard to describe so I won’t. The truth is I can’t remember what it had on it. I’d written down “Nastasi used to be howls here” but that can’t be right. I didn’t write that. My notes have become distorted.

Ritzy Cafe, Brixton

Listening to some people on the other side of the cafe talking about cycling: cyclists breathe in less pollution than car passengers apparently, according to a woman who sounds like she knows what she’s talking about, though often the people who sound like they know what they’re talking about are the ones who don’t. It’s because of the height, she says. Cyclists are higher up, unless they’re children or recumbants, so the air they take in is better quality, whereas cars take in air from lower down which is where the pollution hangs.

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