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Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

Behold, the LED baby!

Well, technically, the LED toddler…

If you haven’t seen it already, some guy decided that he wanted his kid to be a glow-in-the-dark stick figure for Halloween. It’s cute, slightly creepy, and then cute again:

Whenever it’s a holiday, I go in search of the latest green trend… and usually it is a botch. Sometimes it’s something off (see tofurkey) or something manipulative (like this Christmas-based green ad), but generally speaking, I never seem to quite find what I’m looking for, even if I’m more entertained this way (last July 4th I learned of “safer” armor piercing bullets). So this Halloween, dear reader, you get LED baby. It may not be a green costume, but it’s at least greener than Clark Griswold’s Christmas.

Apparently they’re selling these LED costumes, too, so next year we’ll have an army of glowing stick figures.

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home), industrial water purification (biofilm removal), and reduced water pumping costs.

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, dairy waste, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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SpiroFlo looks at environmentalist concerns over the chemicals/materials in fireworks, and how these health concerns impact military weaponry.

No matter the holiday, I like to look up the environmentalist stance (or other niches, like the horrors of tofurkey at Thanksgiving). Given that it’s the 4th of July, things will be ‘splodin’ all over the States today. Blowing things up is a worldwide heritage (see also: the 5th of November in the UK and just about every glorious holiday in China).

Blowing crap up is also good way to make most people care about chemistry. Potassium nitrate? Sodium chlorate? Eh.

Oh wait, these oxidizers help things go boom-boom? Now I’m interested. Environmentalists are interested, too, and they’re noting the impact of fireworks on both people and the planet.

Most of us have naturally figured out that the smoke from fireworks can make it hard to breathe. Thus I aim them at the sky, not at my face.

But what of less obvious effects? The EPA has scrutinized the use of perchlorate “because it can substitute for iodide in the thyroid gland, disrupting the production of hormones. It can also cause growth abnormalities in embryos.” Barium is also a health hazard, as “it can interfere with heart function and constrict air passages to impair breathing.”

While I can understand concerns over the use of flares, criticizing the use of these materials in IM-28—an incendiary mixture added to armor-piercing bullets to mark the impact point—seems a little off.

You know what harms your health more than perchlorate and barium? Getting shot with armor-piercing bullets…

Regardless, researchers Jared Moretti and Jesse Sabatini are working on safer replacements (and yes, these do work for potentially meaningful switches like in civilian fireworks). The key is using nitrates that don’t contain barium, like strontium nitrate.

Others argue that blowing fireworks up all over town causes harmful chemicals and plastics (used to make fireworks safer, larger, and more boomtastic) to contaminate and litter your town. You can check out photos of July 5th cleanups if you need more crispy evidence.

In the mean time, Happy Independence Day!

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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SpiroFlo shares a quote from Carl Sagan on the value of earth.

It’s Earth Day. That day that’s important enough to show up pre-marked on my calendar, but still gets enough flak for, a) 24 hours not being good enough for such an important issue (when something like Mike the Headless Chicken gets a two-day annual festival); and b) that even promoting Earth Day—using physical materials for advertisements, power and energy for online promotion—can be criticized for doing the very things environmentalists want us to scale back.

Personally, I think it’s too easy to be a cynic without considering the positive merits. All you need is one more gripe and you never need to build anything. You just tear down the work of others. So if nothing else, Earth Day reminds me of Earth-related things I’ve appreciated along the way, including this quote from Carl Sagan:

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.joeylombardi.com/blog/sagan.jpg&imgrefurl=http://blog.joeylombardi.com/2011/02/look-again-at-this-dot.html&h=678&w=500&sz=138&tbnid=5u_myLIEyHl7WM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=66&zoom=1&usg=__pSc4TcA-hOvtH3fCLfjOILJXN4Y=&docid=TS--gVEv5VhG2M&itg=1&sa=X&ei=UYR1UdjxFMfUqAHFtYC4DQ&ved=0CDsQ9QEwAw&dur=297

And the next part that usually gets left off in our “meme it down for me” (and include a picture of a cat) internet culture:

“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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It’s the holidays. That means someone in the green crowd had to go make some manipulative message involving that kind of material:

House Hunting: A Global Warming PSA from Dan Kowalski on Vimeo.

Argh. If global warming — that term that even the green crowd is moving away from — costs Santa is home, that jolly red philanthropist can suck it up and adapt to a new place. Maybe he’ll move somewhere warmer, finally shave the beard, drop a few pounds…

Anyway, color me unimpressed. I’ll catch you in 2013 where this type of messaging approach will still annoy me. All the best to you and yours over the holidays.

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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SpiroFlo looks at Sweden’s success in recycling and how that success has created a shortfall of trash for burnable waste.

Sweden: Land of neutral diplomacy, equal pay, and the top recyclers on earth (though it turns out that bit about them all being blonde haired and blue eyed is a myth).

While the rest of Europe wastes an average of 38% of their household trash in landfills, Sweden wastes only 4%, instead recycling or composting most of it. When that doesn’t happen, they also have high standards for their Waste-to-Energy program, where they burn trash to provide 20% of their district heating and electricity to 250,000 homes.

There’s just one problem: Sweden ran out of trash.

Sure, people are throwing things away every day, but Sweden is far enough behind that they’re importing trash from other countries. They’re looking for 800,000 tons a year from Europe. Right now, most of that comes from Norway; though Sweden is already eyeballing glorious trash piles in Bulgaria, Italy and Romania.

As much as I’d like to set up a catapult to fling trash at other countries, there are far more logical rules and tradeoffs:

  • For Norway, exporting their excess trash is cheaper than burning it (and landills are running out of space).
  • For Sweden, they get to return the toxic waste ashes (and the harder-to-treat-yet-easy-to-pollute dioxins) to Norway, thereby remaining all the more sparkly and clean.

Dioxins are nasty business (Agent Orange contained dioxins). Highly toxic, they’re established as a carcinogen that can mess with tooth and sexual development.

Yeah, not so sure if that trade is so great now…

However, some have already figured out that as the world continues to improve its recycling, the laws of supply and demand could push the value of trash up:

“Earlier this year, Catarina Ostlund, a senior advisor for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, said that in the future, waste will be valued even more. ‘Maybe you could sell your waste because there will be a shortage of resources within the world,’ Ostlund said.”

As of 2010, the U.S. only recycled 34.1% of its trash. I’ll see you at the catapult.

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SpiroFlo wishes you all a happy Thanksgiving.

Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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On April 1st, 2012, “60 Minutes” reported that sugar, as it’s currently consumed, is a toxin that drives several diseases, including obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. In today’s blog, SpiroFlo breaks down the major findings of that report.

Brand new report: Everything is still bad for you.

Today’s suspect: Sugar.

On Sunday night, “60 Minutes” posed the question, “Is sugar toxic?” In knowing that they wouldn’t air the report if the results came back as, “Huh, it’s like most things: If you have too much of it, it isn’t good for you,” I assumed they’d come back with “Yes.” It was just a matter of how big that yes was. Despite airing on April Fool’s Day, this was no joke:

According to the report, the average American consumes 130 pounds of sugar each year.

Yikes. That’s a supermodel-and-a-half right there. The tough part is that much of this two-fifths-of-a-pound of sugar a day is hidden in yogurt, sauces and bread.

Dr. Robert Lustig, a California endocrinologist, believes that sugar (as it is currently consumed) is a toxic driver of many diseases, including obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Thankfully, when the interviewer, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, asked, “Do you ever worry that… it just sounds a little bit over the top?” Dr. Lustig had enough sense to respond with, “Sure. All the time. But it’s the truth.”

After the government mandated lowering fat consumption in the 1970s, Dr. Lustig says that in knowing that food loses its flavor without fat, the food industry replaced that fat with sugar. Although sugar consumption is down 40% since then, Lustig also argues that the switch to high fructose corn syrup hasn’t helped, as it’s basically the same thing.

While his views of sugar as a toxin used to be considered on the fringe, Kimber Stanhope, a nutritional biologist at the University of California, is one of the many voices backing him up. “She’s in the middle of a groundbreaking, five-year study which has already shown strong evidence linking excess high fructose corn syrup consumption to an increase in risk factors for heart disease and stroke. That suggests calories from added sugars are different than calories from other foods.”

The report continues, “when a person consumes too much sweet stuff, the liver gets overloaded with fructose and converts some of it into fat. Some of that fat ends up in the bloodstream and helps generate a dangerous kind of cholesterol called small dense LDL. These particles are known to lodge in blood vessels, form plaque and are associated with heart attacks.”

Another expert, Eric Stice—a neuroscientist at the Oregon Research Institute—used MRI scanners to observe how the brain responds to sugars and sweeteners. The results? Your brain responds the same way to sugar as it does to cocaine—by releasing the pleasure chemical: dopamine. The more you eat sugary foods, the less you feel the rewards. Much like a junkie, it takes more and more to feel it.

How much do you think I can get for this on the street?

Lewis Cantley, a Harvard professor and the head of the Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center, believes high-sugar consumption is a catalyst that fuels certain types of cancers—including breast and colon cancer—as they, like the cells of body, need glucose to survive (and grow). Apparently the tumors learned this behavior. Sugar fiends the lot of ‘em!

Of course, like most investigative reports, you must have one lone detractor to balance things out. A member on the sugar board, Jim Simon, predictably disagreed with the findings, saying, “the science isn’t completely clear here.” (To be fair, he’s right. Give it six months and some other experts from another study will likely find something different.) He argued that vilifying the sugar industry by trying to get people to eliminate sugar isn’t enough. Simon says it’s more about reducing calories and increasing exercise (and since Simon says so, we have to do it).

In closing the segment, “60 Minutes” noted that Dr. Lustig co-authored a paper with the American Heart Association on the daily recommended amount of added sugar. The recommendation? No more than 150 calories of added sugar for men and 100 calories for women. That’s less than one can of soda a day (and I’m guessing maybe, just maybe, a notch shy of that disturbing 130 pounds of sugar consumed by the average American in a year).

Watch the report below:

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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As I read the suggestions on how to have a green Christmas, I’m thankful that many of them — buying less stuff, re-gifting, and skipping wrapping paper — happen to align with me being cheap.

That said, sometimes you’ve just got to celebrate the holidays with a little bit of mayhem. For that I turn to the wisdom of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (some language and a glorious punting of a plastic Santa, so NSFW):

However, you celebrate them — be it with the electrical shutdown of a suburban block or otherwise — the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies wish you Happy Holidays and a safe New Year. See you in 2012.

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) 

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