It would be nice to think that hydrogen could solve the world’s energy problems. It’s a great fuel: it burns with oxygen to produce heat and water. No by-products. No pollution other than the waste heat. That heat, itself, might be a problem, given enough time – but it’s far less of an evil in … More Why burning hydrogen won’t reduce global pollution any time soon
I was deeply impressed by last week’s climate change rally – I was in central Wellington, New Zealand, when the local march came past. It was not just for kids; people of all ages were there. And it pointed up the fact that what’s happening today will impact the next generation. And the one after … More What legacy will neo-liberal greed and climate change leave for our kids?
I got a new piece of astronomy software the other day, letting me run simulations according to the laws of physics, however implausible the scenario. I thought it might be fun to see what would happen if a rogue orange-tinted dwarf star – smaller than the average star, but not excessively so – was cut … More The Tangerine Peril destroys the Earth!
There’s no question in my mind that human-driven climate change has to be one of the biggest own-goals humanity has ever struck on itself. And we should have seen it coming. I mean, we’ve been pushing combustion products into the atmosphere in ever-larger quantities since the advent of industrialisation, over 200 years ago. We’ve been … More Humanity’s biggest own goals
One of the ways we justify going to Mars is that Earth is pretty much on the road to ruin just now, courtesy of human endeavour. We need a new planet. The only problem is that human nature doesn’t change, so we’d probably end up wrecking Mars too, likely while fighting viciously over how to … More Humanity – the scourge of the galaxy
It started raining so hard the other week that animals began lining up two-by-two to board a boat owned by my neighbours. I am only being slightly hyperbolic with that statement. Topsy-turvy weather seems to be the name of the game at the moment, not just in my neighbourhood but right around the world as … More Climate change is humanity’s biggest own goal ever
The hurricanes of the past few weeks that have devastated the Carribean and parts of the United States have been record-setters. The human cost is huge, and our first thoughts must be to the victims and their families. Unfortunately it’s the likely shape of where things are going, worldwide. New Zealand’s been unusually warm and … More Why is the weather going mad? Humanity’s ongoing stupidity, that’s why
My biography of coal in New Zealand was published this month by David Bateman Ltd. It’s a book taking as its subject a ‘thing’, but in reality telling the human side of that ‘thing’ in all its dimensionality. Review comments so far have been excellent – ‘this definitive work by Matthew Wright has certainly set a new benchmark‘ and … More Collisions of coal: an author’s perspective
The weather these past years seems to have gone mad, and not just in New Zealand – though here it’s been bad enough, we’ve had successions of intense storms with record-breaking wind speeds. Wellington was in chaos for days after a ‘one in a century’ storm in June – our third in a decade – … More Why is the weather going mad? Humanity’s limitless stupidity, that’s why
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