Friday, 27 October 2017

How To Go Solar

We now live in a society consumed by technology and the unending demand for energy (mostly non-renewable as is the custom now in the world). And it makes sense considering the number of tech contrivances we use day in and day out. Energy is not just a precious commodity, it is already a staple in all aspects of human life. Yet we all know the many issues we face when it comes to energy use. Not only is there a big possibility of a non-renewable source like fossil fuel eventually running out but also the dangers its continued use poses to the environment.

Why then does the majority of the population patronize non-renewable energy? Perhaps it is because they are convenient to use. There are already big businesses that market these products to the people and some that consequently made other related products that make use of this energy resource for them to work like most vehicles, appliances, smart gadgets, etc. when in all honesty, renewable energy is just as easy to use yet often ignored by society.

Given the gains made in reducing costs and improving efficiency for photovoltaic cells, it’s time to turn the solar office’s attention to thermal solar with or without the grid study, said David M. Hart, professor of science and technology policy at George Mason University.

“So for me it makes sense to rotate funding to less mature technologies,” Hart said.

Concentrated solar power, which requires local workers to construct and operate plants, also fits snugly into another Trump goal of creating jobs.

"It generates local employment," said Yogi Goswami, a solar energy expert and professor at the University of South Florida. Photovoltaic panels, Goswami noted, can be (and are) manufactured abroad more cheaply in China


Most progressive countries like the US and China are actually the biggest energy users and contributors to the release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere (hence global warming and climate change) because these places have countless manufacturing plants and industries that make just about everything you can think of that can thrive in a highly capitalist world. While some have already shifted to the use of solar energy years ago, many still miss out on what the sun can still offer aside from natural daylight.

"We started thinking that seems strange because if you look around the world, if you look on the ground, there's a lot of solar energy going in, so we went back to the forecast, we looked back over 15 years and looked at what people predicted, what happened to solar energy five years out, and it was consistently under-counting how much solar there actually was," Nemet said.

As for why solar's potential was underestimated, there are a number of reasons, but Nemet said the biggest driver is that solar is getting cheaper and faster than originally expected.

While technology is making solar increasingly more efficient and cost-effective, there are still challenges associated with the power source.


While it is perfectly understandable that most people are concerned about the many limitations of solar power, let us not overlook its many advantages as well aside from being 100% environment-friendly. The main issue here is that why the government is turning a blind eye to the harnessing of solar energy in fueling our energy needs and gradually make the shift from the use of fossil fuel to that of sunlight. The weather may change now and then and it is not always sunny all the time but those things can be resolved with proper strategic planning and federal government support and funding to make solar energy more accessible to the public and replace whatever we are using right now.

The following article How To Go Solar was originally published on


Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Need For Green Spaces In The City

The world’s natural space is fast disappearing what with rapid urbanization and all. Most green spaces are turned into agricultural, residential, and commercial spaces to meet the growing needs of the public for natural resources and living space. As a result, Mother Nature takes all the blow just so we can continue to live in utter comfort and safety. If you live in a big city like most people do these days, you likely won’t be seeing a lot of trees and green scenery because almost everywhere around you is full of towering skyscrapers that house businesses and residents alike.

To make urban living healthier and better for our mental health, most land developers and builders are now incorporating green spaces into the living spaces they build. You can see patches of green parks or gardens in an inconspicuous corner or city centers to give the people a feeling of living with nature. Green spaces in busy city streets offer a lot of health benefits. They filter dust and other harmful pollutants in the air that is common in city living. They also help in cooling down the temperature and providing shade that is a welcome relief in cities that are mostly devoid of big trees. It is even helpful in reducing the rate of erosion in waterways as well as protecting rivers and streams by filtering toxic runoff.

The World Health Organisation stipulates that all residents must live within 15 minutes of a green space. Western countries have tended to adopt a norm of 20 square metres of per capita green space. Many of them, however, overshoot this requirement. So, in Dutch cities, the per capita green space is 228 sq m, while in the Greater Paris region, it is 80 sq m. In India, according to the “Urban Greening Guidelines, 2014”, a report from the Ministry of Urban Development, the per capita green space in metropolitan cities is abysmal — 0.81 sq m in Chennai, 2 sq m in Bangalore and 1.24 sq m in Mumbai. Smaller cities like Varanasi (24.78 sq m), Bhopal (18.62 sq m) and Chandigarh (17.43 sq m) fare much better in this respect. Gandhinagar fares spectacularly with 162 sq m of green space per person.

The component of urban greens that is most conspicuous by its absence in Indian cities is neighbourhood parks. Even in small western towns, every neighbourhood has a park where children screech and run wildly around see-saws and slides while their mothers catch up with each other. It is a great stress-busting space that allows free play for children of all social strata.


We can’t just ignore it anymore. Urban living isn’t really the healthiest type of lifestyle for us but we find it hard to disconnect from our tech-crazed world. The tighter these cities become as more and more people converge in these crowded places. More land is then converted into homes and high-rising condominiums to accommodate the growing number of people requiring a place to live. As a result, more trees are cut down and land is cleared in preparation for building and constructing work. It is an endless and vicious cycle of abuse at a global scale that is happening more rapidly now than it did in the past.

While we cannot blame planners for causing all these issues, they do have the ability to intervene and thus a role to play in improving urban life. Design guidelines, for example, can help by ensuring people have more accidental social encounters in spaces like cafes, at mailboxes or in gardens.

So too can more strategic interventions such as community gardens – places where people grow not only food, but also friendships. More green space can also potentially buffer noise, heat and light, and provide respite from crowds.

In car-dependent outer suburbs and new housing estates, planners would do well to focus on first developing social facilities such as clubs, sporting facilities and parks. Public transport is another important intervention in such suburbs. Good access to public transport also reduces a household's commuting expenses.

Our research suggests planners and built environment professionals have surprisingly low levels of knowledge about depressogenic environments.


Human health improves in the presence of a green environment. A person’s mood improves and brightens when they get to commune with nature. Even the sight of green plants and trees can do lots of wonder to a person’s overall health and well-being. People who are cooped up in physical structures tend to be less active. Experts even coined the term “depressogenic” to describe the poor mental health of individuals living in urban cities. We subconsciously get overwhelmed of the various distractions in our immediate environments such as bright lights, loud noise, and busy streets that it increases your cognitive load leaving you mentally stressed-out.

Better urban planning is needed to help counter the major flaws of urban living. Adding green touches like gardens, parks, trees, and other greenery is the first step to correcting this problem especially that we can’t just abandon our modern lifestyle that easily and decide to go off-grid in a heartbeat. There may be problems but there are also solutions if we just open up our minds to all the possibilities and perhaps declutter our lives a little for the sake of our health and sanity.

The Need For Green Spaces In The City Find more on:


Sunday, 15 October 2017

How Meat-Eaters Harm The Environment

Humans are known omnivorous eaters. It means we eat both plant and meat-based food. While it is essential for human survival, animal farming is proving to be more detrimental to the environment than we’d like to acknowledge. It is even more harmful than traditional crop farming for a variety of reasons. The soil is lost, trees are cut down and water is consumed in raising these animals especially when it involves factory-farming where hundreds, if not thousands, of these animals, are raised for human consumption at a time.

Animal waste that gets washed down to rivers and streams pollute these water sources aside from increasing the carbon footprint due to untreated animal waste and is next to air pollution from vehicle combustion as the biggest threat to the environment. Marine life disappears (they either die or leave the place) as the nutrients coming from animal waste fosters the growth of algae that in turn reduces the amount of oxygen available in the water not to mention the accompanying stinky smell from excessive algae growth in the water. Aside from that, these harmful wastes pollute drinking water and can lead to a long list of health conditions that are completely avoidable if we just limit our consumption of animal meat. Animal agriculture contributes to 51% of the greenhouse gas emission all over the world. Moreover, these animals consume just as much food in order to grow in size and produce sufficient flesh to be later sold in most markets.

The global meat industry, already implicated in driving global warming and deforestation, has now been blamed for fueling what is expected to be the worst “dead zone” on record in the Gulf of Mexico.

Toxins from manure and fertiliser pouring into waterways are exacerbating huge, harmful algal blooms that create oxygen-deprived stretches of the gulf, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, according to a new report by Mighty, an environmental group chaired by former congressman Henry Waxman.

It is expected that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) will this week announce the largest ever recorded dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to be larger than the nearly 8,200 square-mile area that was forecast for July – an expanse of water roughly the size of New Jersey.


The problem has grown considerably despite efforts to minimize its damage to the environment. It does not help that the demand for meat (of all types) continues to increase as the majority of the population are oblivious to the dangers posed by meat eating to the natural world. Environmental groups are raising awareness on the problems caused by meat farming in an effort to discourage the people from consuming more meat or reducing the demand for it at the very least.

With scientists tomorrow expected to confirm the largest dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico ever recorded, Environment America renewed its call for Tyson Foods, Inc. and other corporate agribusiness companies to curb the pollution flowing from their fields and factory farms.  The demand for Tyson to “clean it up” was today joined by Mighty Earth, which released a new research report on pollution from meat companies like Tyson.

“From the Chesapeake Bay to the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, giant meat companies like Tyson are now responsible for huge volumes of pollution pouring into America’s waterways,” said John Rumpler, clean water program director for Environment America.


Agri-business is a large and profitable industry in America alone. Hence, claiming that its harmful effects are also on a massive scale is but an understatement to the real danger it poses. Major US waterways are contaminated by these harmful pollutants that likewise make it impossible for marine life to thrive. However, this problem is not easily addressed as most people eat meat in their day-to-day life. While going vegan is not the absolute solution to the problem, understanding how it impacts our lives is the first step to addressing this issue for good.

The article How Meat-Eaters Harm The Environment See more on: Blog


Sunday, 8 October 2017

The Role Of Mobile Apps In The Internet Of Things

Technology is the biggest thing to hit the planet earth over the past few decades. Digitization is apparently the name of the game. It’s either you join the bandwagon or get left behind. Many of us have witnessed its birth, growth and its surprising exponential growth that gave us the amazing world of the Internet of Things and the smart technology we can’t live without right now. And one of the fastest growing industries related to their use is mobile apps that have virtually erased the word “boredom” in our vocabulary.

There are mobile apps for just about everything you’ll ever need in real life through the use of your smartphone. Most mobile apps, especially the ones that really have a practical use, have uplifted our lives and made certain tasks easier than they used to. From work-related to social networking and gaming apps, you can download and install free or premium apps that suit your taste and meet your tech demands.

Many industrial companies with extensive terrain or explosive areas today continue to use outdated technologies to plan, execute, manage and control their business processes. Employees are not well integrated in the flow of information and due to a lack of alternatives, certifications or purely out of habit (“we’ve always done it this way”), many tasks are still being performed with clipboard and paper. These archaic methods bring increased risk and inflexibility to the business, being error‐prone and inefficient. This also leads to mobile workers carrying more than they should when walking around the site, creating a potential safety issue and affecting the wellbeing of their workforce.


The tech shift we are experiencing right now is expected to go on and on until we reach the era of artificial intelligence (which has already started, by the way). The future may be uncertain for now but one thing is for sure, investing in a mobile app venture can likely bring in big profits especially if you offer something unique and helpful to the public. And with 4.8 billion of smartphone users globally, you won’t have a problem reaching a certain niche with your product especially once you look into the benefits of localization (in places that do not speak English, of course).

By making it easier for mobile phones to spread out and connect to one another, the IoT has created huge market-demand for and incentivized even greater investment in mobile phones and the development of apps for them. The same connectivity which drives the IoT has also enabled the world’s greatest developers to network and cooperate with one another more easily than ever before, meaning hubs of innovation are forming across the world’s digital environments.

Building a massive mobile network to generate demand for more mobile apps is only part of how the IoT has enabled greater mobile development, however. The entrepreneur-friendly IoT survives and thrives due to the innovations of the startups which occur within and because of it, and the greatest impact has perhaps been from some companies which understand how to harness the power of the IoT to better push their mobile apps.


Everything worked perfectly in the grand scheme of things. As the web and smart technology progressed and brought about the Internet of Things that we now know of today, it has also paved the way to the popularity and success of mobile apps that almost everyone with a smartphone right now makes use of every single day. It is actually synergy at work since both the IoT and mobile apps benefit from each other. Many global brands today started from these mobile apps like Uber and messaging apps that bring new life to conversations. And with the reception it is getting from everyone today, we can expect better things to come our way that can easily fit the palm of our hands.

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Chipotle: Problems In The Food Industry

Food is the most basic of human needs. We can’t survive for long without eating and drinking water. It is why investing in a food-related business is one of the most profitable investments you can ever make, as people eat three times daily at the very least. But despite food being a vital necessity in our lives, numerous issues affect it too, so it is not always an assurance your business will prosper. Various food franchises and businesses have since closed down over the years for various reasons.

Aside from economic factors that entrepreneurs have to consider when running their businesses, problems with health and the people’s changing lifestyle influence the type of businesses that succeed in the market. It’s mainly because a lot of the ailments that bother humans these days are because of our lifestyle. People are becoming more health-conscious and some won’t hesitate to spend a lot for an expensive organic salad than eat at their favorite burger joint or avoid indulging in junks and sweets like they used to. Then, there are other random incidents like food poisoning that can damage a fast food or restaurant’s reputation that may eventually lead to their closure.

Chipotle's food safety woes are not over.

The chain confirmed Tuesday that several customers who ate at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Sterling, Virginia, reported symptoms of norovirus after eating at the chain.

So far eight cases between July 14 and July 17 were reported to, a website that allows users to report when they get sick after eating at a restaurant. Business Insider was alerted to the issues at the restaurant by the site, and then published a story. Customers reported symptoms such as vomiting, severe stomach pains, diarrhea, dehydration and, in some cases, hospitalization.

Jim Marsden, Chipotle's executive director of food safety, said that the company has notified local health department officials of the incident.

"Norovirus does not come from our food supply, and it is safe to eat at Chipotle. We plan to reopen the restaurant today," he said in a statement Tuesday. "We take every report of illness seriously. In accordance with our established protocols, our team is working to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, including voluntarily closing the restaurant yesterday to conduct a complete sanitization."


The reputation of a food-related business is on the line every time there are negative reports blaming them of customers getting sick from the food they serve. And it’s actually not the first time for Chipotle to get involved in such a controversy because they’ve suffered from a similar problem about two years ago and is actually just starting to make big bucks again. It’s a good thing they haven’t entirely closed down because of this because other smaller shops and restaurants have gone bankrupt because of similar incidents.

Two years after a string of food safety incidents battered sales and scared away diners, Chipotle Mexican Grill still isn't on solid ground.

While the beleaguered burrito chain has returned to profitability and its same-store sales have begun trending in a positive direction, its successes have been overshadowed by a data breach, overtime pay lawsuits and drug charges being brought against a senior manager.

"While these things do not deter customers as much as a food poisoning outbreak, they do raise questions about how well the company is managed and suggest a lackadaisical approach," Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, told CNBC via email.

In the hope of luring back lapsed customers, Chipotle continues to invest heavily in marketing and promotions. In an SEC filing last month, the chain said that it would be increasing its spending in these areas, saying expenses would rise as much as 0.3 percent as a result.


The company has been doing damage control ever since but it is not always that easy to pull off especially that social media can quickly escalate things these days. The public is easily scared by issues like this and they tend to avoid that specific shop or store up until they forget about the issue and no similar incident happen soon after, which is the problem of Chipotle because it happened yet again. It’s no wonder they can’t win back many of their loyal customers after these outbreaks happened nor are they able to attract new customers to become their new patrons. It might be true then they weren’t able to fully recover from the E. coli incident back then and only time can tell how their business will fare amidst the tough competition in the food industry.

The blog article Chipotle: Problems In The Food Industry is republished from Blog


Sunday, 1 October 2017

Is Democracy Still At Work?

Citizens enjoy greater freedom in a democratic government. The people are free to choose and decide on a number of things like their religion, interests, studies, work, etc. while at the same time observing the rules and laws of the land. People can move freely without the state constantly telling them what else they can do and up to where they can go. The public also enjoys a set of innate human rights that the law upholds and protects. Discrimination is discouraged in society and those who are caught violating the rights of another person will be help accountable in court.

American constituents enjoy the benefits of democracy like many other nations in the world. There are times when it is abused but it is likewise put to good use to help maintain the delicate check and balance of the various branches of the government. A democratic system of government is founded on the principle of the rule of the majority, wherein the consensus of the majority wins. It is evident during elections where the people vote for their next leader regardless of their personal and professional qualifications.

Constituent power is a wondrous thing in a representative democracy. After the election in November, political prognosticators speculated that President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act, was probably as good as dead. Some thought President Trump might even sign a “Trumpcare” bill on his first day. But on Friday, more than six months into Trump’s presidency, Senate Republicans announced that their attempt to repeal Obamacare had collapsed.

The defeat was months in the making. In December, we released a Google Doc titled “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda.” As former congressional staffers, we witnessed the rise of the tea party and saw the power of local, defensive congressional advocacy. After Trump’s election, we recommended that progressives implement the same strategies and tactics — minus the racism and violence. To our surprise, the Google Doc went viral, and today there are locally led Indivisible groups in every single congressional district in the country, full of members applying their constituent power.


In this case, democracy saved Obamacare from getting abolished especially that President Trump makes it known to all Republican legislators to get it done by hook or by crook since assuming office. The people choose who to represent them in both the lower and upper house and these elected legislators create, pass, or turn down bills that may or may not benefit their constituents. And it is what had made the abolishment of Obamacare hard for Republicans that had their eye on passing the new health care law under Trump’s administration.

Appointing family members to powerful jobs they’re not qualified to hold. Firing officials investigating scandals. Musing about prosecuting a defeated rival. Entangling his business empire with the presidency to such a degree that he’ll literally profit from his time in the White House.

The early months of the Trump presidency don’t look like what you normally see in a democracy. But they’re everyday occurrences in corrupt, undemocratic countries like Azerbaijan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or even Vladimir Putin’s Russia. And academics who study such countries increasingly worry that President Donald Trump is governing like the leader of the kind of nation Washington has long condemned — not like a president of the United States.

“His refusal to fully divest himself from his business, the linkages between finances and the levers of power — those are the classic symptoms of kleptocracy,” Seva Gunitsky, a University of Toronto scholar who studies post-Soviet states, says. “It’s probably the greatest long-term threat — maybe even short-term threat — to American institutions.”


The problem with the new administration is that it fosters the growth of political leeches that is characteristic of the same issues that abound most struggling third-world countries today. And as such has been a cause of alarm among other politicians both far and wide. It seems that President Trump sees the presidency as an extension of his role as an entrepreneur and businessman and it is obvious in the polities he has passed and is pushing for so far.

Little by little, democracy is no longer practiced as a sort of authoritarian leadership emerges. But will we allow that to happen today that democracy is still pretty much alive? If we love this country and want a brighter future for the millions of young Americans in our midst, let us exercise all the democratic faculties we still have to prevent this from happening and reorient today’s leaders in what they should be doing instead in leading this country to greatness.

The following blog article Is Democracy Still At Work? is courtesy of