Sunday, 6 March 2011

19 year old rubber ducks

I saw a story yesterday about a shipping container that was lost at sea in 1992, carrying 28,000 toy rubber ducks. The ducks are still being washed ashore now, identified by unique batch numbers.
The main point of the article was that this accident has taught us great amounts about ocean currents, as well as demonstrate the seriousness of plastic pollution. The toys have been found in Hawaii, Alaska, South America, and Australia to name but a few, and thousands circulate in an ocean vortex known as the North Pacific Gyre (along with other rubbish). Before the incident, scientists didn't know how long it took to complete a circuit of the Gyre.
But I wasn't sure if everyone was missing the point here. Yes, we need to use alot less plastic, and it is great we can learn something from the accident, but another crucial point? These things wouldn't happen if we made our goods in our own country (obviously there are exceptions) with our own resources. Not only would it help local businesses and our own economy, but think of the cost of shipping, staff, fuel...? The list goes on.
I forget, the world's being run by a bunch of, ahem, quacks.

Friday, 4 March 2011

New design for offshore wind farms

Despite some organisations opposition to them, it is obvious that wind farms are the future for energy production. The UK has renewable energy targets to meet, and now new designs are being drawn up for 'supersize' wind farms that maximise on energy production.
Thanet wind farm was opened last year as the world's biggest offshore wind farm, but even at 300 megawatts it is nowhere near enough for our country. It is hoped that Thanet alone can generate 1/3 of UK electricity by 2020, but this is a big ask.
Now there is a rush to draw up plans for even bigger offshore wind farms - not only designs, but fixing problems that current offshore wind farms have. Due to the strong wind and wave power at sea, the turbines break down often and are difficult to fix. At what point do they become cost-effective?
Watch this space...