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Monday, March 30, 2009

Earth hour and candle burning

For a whole hour on saturday, people all over the world switched off their lights and electrical appliances. Just to demonstrate as to how even a hour of no lights makes a humongous difference in energy saved and energy used.
The problem though was that many people lit candles while their lights were off. That just didn't make sense, since ofcourse, candles are made of petroleum products and damn , lighting candles instead of electric lights, kinda defeats the purpose, dontcha think?
Either ways, earth hour was a good way to learn how simple things and measures can help us save our environment. Remember, by saving the environments we are not doing anyone else a favor other than ourselves. Since ofcourse, if the environment goes, we die too.
We are just trying to make sure we have a future as mankind.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cooking gas from compost and animal fecal wastes

Well, methane gas might kinda be really harmful for the atmosphere and the protective layers of the earth and global warming.
But what if , we could use all these gases without wasting a thing?
well, many farm based communities in third world countries actually use this technology of producing cooking gas and manure at the same time. The manure is organic which works great for all the organic freaks as well.
The procedure involves basically building a simple underground tank which is fitted with intlets and outlets and pressure gauge and and a gas outlet too.
The animal wastes are mixed with adequate water if any and let into this tank and as the wastes rot, methane rises to the top of the tank and then passes out through the top gas tube to the farmer's kitchen for cooking. Meanwhile the other outlet is for the sludge after all this gasesous emnation useful as manure for your farm or kitchen garden(organic farming) .
This cooking gas is so much better than the firewood fuel many backward farm based communities still use there.
If you have a small farm with animals, You might as well try this out .
Speaking of animal wastes, i am pretty sure, this same thing can be done with a human septic tank too. Though ofcourse, the output will be not so much as to do regualar cooking all the time.
Worth a try though.

About Circumcision and STDs -Health post-Vestigial organs and evolution

Well, this ECOLOGY AND HEALTH blog was CREATED to  include my entry on health and healthier lifestyle patterns in addition to my ecology posts. I have so far ignored this aim of mine on this blog.
This prolly is the first of my health blogs on this blog.
I just left a comment on WHITE COAT UNDERGROUND on his blog post about circumcision and how it might just be unnecessary as a routine elective in newborns.
As a physician myself, I left my two cents there on his blog.Thought I might share my comment here with my own readers.
Here goes my comment:(As of oct 2013,I have slightly modified the ACTUAL comment I posted on his blog .I have also PARAPHRASED and added a wee bit extra to my original comment )

About circumcision
It is a procedure that is devised with the premise that the foreskin is an unnecessary part of the body( a vestigial organ if you may) , something we could do without.

At this rate , a kidney is one too. A vestigial organ that is.
Afterall , we can do without a pair. A single functioning kidney is actually enough TO KEEP A HUMAN ALIVE and functioning normally!

coming back to the point in question.

For some reason, I fail to accept the theory of vestigial organs altogether.

You see, I don't think that centuries and thousands of years of evolution would allow for vestigial organs to remain in our bodies at all. Obviously,each organ,we ASSUME is vestigial,IS NOT vestigial at all.It has functions,that we as a medical and research community HAVEN'T figured out yet.

It just is that we as scientists haven't yet figured out the biological function of say The appendix or the foreskin or thymus or other such organs,which we often discount as dispensible organs.

Like you said, the best way to prevent STD's is a condom (male and female condoms) and also perhaps abstinence and single sexual partners.

Circumcision of the newborn,assuming that newborn  brain won't retain the memory of SURGERY OR SURGERY ASSOCIATED PAIN,is UNSCIENTIFIC. and definitely NOT a smart way to prevent STDs.Like I said,let an adult use condoms to prevent STDs..

 With regards to all those other problems associated with an intact foreskin or prepuce, like phimosis, I think, a good genital hygeine and prevention of accumulation of stuff between the foreskin and shaft is so important to prevent such diseases instead of doing DRASTIC PROCEDURES like newborn circumcision.

Yes,we do perform circumcision,IN A CHILD, who comes to the clinic,with a case OF PHIMOSIS..because obviously,the parent is INCAPABLE of giving the kid clean baths and keeping the kid's genitalia clean.
Dear parents of male children who are not yet capable of taking their own baths,please retract the prepuce whatever little you can,clean with mild soap and warm water while giving a bath to your male kid.

I always tell my male patients to retract and clean while in the shower just so that things or secretions don't first accumulate there and then lead to infections and then finally we end up doing emergency circumcisions in adults. I am sure the body needs the foreskin  to protect the penile tip,which has thinner skin than the rest of the penis too.
Also,women, while taking showers,must make it a point,to use their fingers to slightly separate their labia majora and minora and clean with MILD soap and warm water too.
GENITALIA HYGEINE is a great way to avoid URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS AND some genital infections  too.k?

Tags: #genitalia,#circumcision_in_newborn, #elective_surgical_procedures_in_newborn, #vestigial_organs,#evolution, #std, #how_to_clean_genitialis,#how_to_give_male_toddlers_a_bath

Why my ecology posts are simple and very basic

I am sure people must wonder why my ecology blog posts are very very basic. Like those simple one liners with no more details than simple suggestions.
Well, for one, there is no dearth for ecology based blogs that are full of very many technical details about the chemical compositions of structures and how things are processed and and the works.
I sometimes find that such detailed descriptions can sometimes discourage people who are just starting off on an enviromentally conscious lifechange path and they may end up being intimidated. They might find it too complicated. My job here is to initiate such beginners to simply try it out with simple beginnings.
Also, many of these ecology blogs make it look like living an environmentally friendly life is very difficult and full of complicated methods and full of sacrifice.IT IS NOT. Not that they intend to but the way they explain things, it might discourage starters from attempting it due to fear that it might be too difficult.
i am only here giving small simple tips, tips that can be understood by beginners. I want everyone to try out because even very very small steps make a huge difference.
My explanations here are very simple and basic because i am targeting the basic beginner who wants to try . That is why , my posts are small and tiny and have one liners . Just to make them more easy to understand.


Monday, March 23, 2009

A lil bit of good parenting goes a long way

Peggy's father passed away recently. You can read Peggy's blog -Look for WOMEN IN SCIENCE on my blogroll on the right.

She wrote a blog entry about her dad and i left a comment for here there.

Here is a copy of that comment that i would like to share with my own readers

My comment:
Awww, Peggy, HUgs to you sweetheart.
He did a great job with parenting as is evident at how wonderful you turned out .
speaking of dads, I think, My dad always wanted me to be the best. He never said not to paying for anything education related or otherwise.
I remember going to the bookstore and wanting to purchase all kinds of books and he for one would never say no .
My mom always also did the same, to encourage me to study and learn and understand.

Good parenting definitely goes a long way.

Hugs to you sweetie. Parents get old , they pass, but their spirit lives on in us as children.

Media potrayal of Women scientists. When SMART IS COOL.

Well, As you can see on my blogroll, You might notice this blog WOMEN IN SCIENCE. Peggy thoroughly does a great job with that blog.
She recently wrote a blog about how for generations though women scientists did excellent work and contributed a lot to science, most of them never really got media coverage as much as the male ones. She writes about how any generic picture of a science lab always shows a man doing the experiments while if at all a woman is in the picture she is potrayed as this admiring onlooker.
needless to say, I left a comment for here there on her blog.
I am gonna post a copy of that comment here as well, just for the benefit of my readers here.

My comment:
Thanks for the round up of pictures.
To think that they actually did have pictures of actual women scientists but then never used for media purposes says a lot about what the media back then thought would sit right the the common social psyche.
They must have thought that " why not just avoid showing pictures of smart scientists lest the poor men feel threatened "
I absolutely love your blog and you know that i have you on my blogroll on my Ecology blog.

Even today's media is still afraid to potray the truth. It breaks my heart to constantly see women constantly potrayed as sex objects while the truth is that millions of women all over the country do real jobs and real tough smart jobs at that. How come such smart women don't get as much coverage?You see,
What they show on tv is what influences the next generation of girl children to aspire to. If 'smart' is potrayed as 'cool', more young women will try to go to college and get a job.
If cheerleading alone is potrayed as coool , we will end up with a whole generation of financially dependant stay at home ex cheerleader women regretting that they never finished college.


Laundry the old fashioned way. gosh ! Air drying of clothes

Before you go all riled up, Let me clarify that i am not asking you to do your laundry the old fashioned way at all. I know, It is VERY VERY HARD WORK. Doing laundry the old fashioned way does save all the energy that the machine uses for tumbling and then rinsing and then squeezing out the water, but then, needing to actually use one's own hands to tumble and squeeze and rinse is a herculean task. I think It was such a herculean task that a whole generation of women were not allowed to have careers and a job outside of home because they had to have somebody at home doing everyone's laundry. Gosh, what kind of human abuse is this?

So, well, suggesting to all of you that you do the laundry the old way , would be a great crime. Imagine tumbling your large large comforters. Anyways, I tried doing laundry the old fashioned way. Ya know, soaking these clothes in soaped water, then trying to brush off the stains and then rinsing in plain water , then hand squeezing and then air drying.
The clothes turned out okay too.
I ended up getting a great work out in the process too.
But, I just cannot imagine doing the same with a comforter. It is just too big for me to handwash it.

So yes, I may not ask you guys to do the hard part of the laundry.

But yes, we could all get just a lil bit environmental friendly and sundry our clothing, especially , if we live in the suburbs and have a large backyard with space to airdry stuff out of the view of the street. We don't want to spoil the visage of the street we live in , do we?

A large amount of power gets consumed in heat drying our clothing. This atleast we could avoid by airdrying or sun drying our clothing.
i know, many of us live in downtown with no backyard, we live in apartments with no place to dry . Such of us, really, we still have to use the heat dryer.

Well, if you are a fat person living in the suburb, then ofcourse, you can try airdrying our laundry after washing it yourself. YOu can try doing this with smaller pieces of clothing like lycra or sythetic tshirts etc. yeah, those clothes need to be your own.There is absolutely no need to handwash your husband's or wife's clothing like a houseslave.LOL

Oh , my environmental fantasies.
Why did i try traditional laundry at my home ,you might ask. I was just plain bored and i wanted to challenge myself to see if I could manage in the most basic of situations where i don't even have a washing machine to my rescue.
Gives me selfconfidence that i am not a technology slave afterall.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Have you heard of the solar cooker ?

A solar cookers uses solar panels and cooks food.
I mean, plain and simple, just load up the food you want to cook , esp rice or cakes or biscuits and leave the solar cooker in the sun and voila, food is ready.
No energy bills whatsoever.
solar energy is such a resource that we have all been ignoring for so long.
Btw, You can actually bake bread , esp the flat bread on a hot granite stone just like that . Just like that. No need for a solar cooker even. This is called "Early man style bread making" LOL
If you have a hot granite stone where sunlight falls on for a reasonable amount of time, just leave your bread dough there for an hour or less and voila , hot bread reeady.
You wouldn't trust it till you try it out yourself.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Use up all your fridge contents first before restocking it

There used to be times in the past ,many years ago when i would buy tons of stuff when I would go grocery shopping.
Come home and stuff up the fridge.
As days passed on, the most frequently used stuff would get over and i would rush to the grocery store to replenish my stocks. What I would forget is the other stuff sitting at the back of the fridge.
The backfridge is a goldmine.But then things would get so stuffed up there that I would finally remove all semi rotting stuff from the back and throw them away.
What a waste of food.This food cost money. This food was produced from resources. Never waste food.No matter how much money we earn or have in the bank , nothing affords us , the humans,the capacity to create our own food.WE ARE NOT AS SELF SUFFICIENT LIKE THE PLANTS. Coz, unlike the plants, we don't do photosythesis. We are dependants. We depend on the plants to make food out of sunlight and dirt...hmmm.We are not "creators", we are just consumers.
Over the years I have grown wiser and more responsible too.I still buy tons of stuff, but then once the front is empty, I start looking in the back and figure out ways to use them in recipes. After a good week of so of this fridge scavenging, finally the fridge gets empty and oh so tidy looking.
This is when i go grocery shopping again.
Saves me money, prevents food wastage and I eat a better variety of dishes instead of obsessing on the same old ones I am crazy about.

Reuse your yogurt or coffee tubs as storage containers.Saves the envo !

First off, if you buy ground coffee in tins You might notice that the coffee comes in metal containers with plastic lids. Once the coffee is over, most of us throw off the tins, the lid and all. This increases garbage load.
Many of us also buy icecreams or yogurt that comes in tubs. Not the papertubs.Some of the yogurt and icecream comes in large thick plastic tubs with a neat fitting lid.
Again, most of us throw these tubs away too. More plastic load on the environment.
The best way is to make use of these plastic tubs for storing dry or wet food. I use the coffee tins for storage of sugar or salt, flour etc.
I use the plastic tubs to store my homemade soyyogurt or homemade creme ets in the refrigerator.
Reusing stuff and using them for long definitely makes sure you are helping in some way.
Some of you might say, "oh, these measures are for poor people who cannot afford to buy nice pretty lil storage containers for the kitchen. I am so rich, I am not going to reuse."
well, " no matter how rich you are ,Unless you are able to immediately make that platic garbage wastes into biodegradable substances, you are still answerable. Your money doesn't make the plastic vanish , does it? So, well, you are not allowed to increase the plastic burden on the earth as much as a poor person cannot"
Be responsible, do your bit.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Use natural light during day time.Saves energy

I see a lot of people or even offices for that matter, they drop down the curtains, and then switch on the lights and the Airconditioner during the day time.
What a waste of energy?
did you know that sunglight is far brighter than artificial light?
why waste energy when you work better in natural light.
Yes , if it is hot or some such, continue using the airconditioner, but atleast open up the drapes and let the natural light in.
yes , yes, some of you live in places with heavy air pollution, so you really cannot deal with car exhaust and such.
But hey, Just don't open the windows, keep them closed, The light does penetrate glass, you see.just let the light in.
It might even make your bones stronger .Ya know, sunglight makes the skin manufacture vit d too.
If the weather is great and you might actually sit outside on the patio too. save energy people. It is these simple things that bring down the bill so low, you will gape.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A pressure cooker saves a lot of energy

well, you know how long it takes to cook lentils? A good 30 min or more..
I have seen waste tons of energy just for a pot of lentils ona stovetop.
So , well the solution would be to buy a pressure cooker.
A pressure cooker works on the principle that under pressure, the steam reaches upto 121 degrees and therefore is able to cook tough foods faster than what boiling water per say can. see, water boil at 100 degress and that never changes. So, when steam under pressure is at 121 degrees, foods get cooked efficiently , uniformly and in a jiffy.
Espcially rice or lentils or beans and such.
It takes a mere 10 mins or a max of 15 min to get sooper smooth creamy lentils.
yes ofcourse, one does need to employ safety precautions while using a pressure cooker.
the steam is under great pressure inside the closed vesssel and therefore it is so important to let the steam out prior to opening the lid.Otherwise, the whole thing will shoot out of the container at high speed like a rocket leading to steam related burns and injuries.
Good luck.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

using a microwave or stovetop instead of an oven saves tons of energy

when buying an appliance it would be a great idea to look at the wattage that is printed at the back of the appliance. And then by usign the wattage you can easily calculate the number of units of energy the appliance is going to use.
saving energy is not only good for the environment but also saves you money.
btw, an oven works on the principle of using electricity to heat up metal rods which then cook your food by radiation rather than direct heat.
See heat gets trasmitted by conduction where the food is in direct contact to the heat source(like say grilling on open fire or on stove top griddle pan etc, convection is mostly associated with heating liquids, where the hot liquid moves up and such.
oven works on radiation principle, where first off the rods get hot and make the air inside the oven hot and the hot air cooks the food in the oven for most part.ya know.
The problem with radiation is that, a lot of heat is lost to the surroudings.
Have you noticed how very often if you have been on a baking spree, how the whole kitchen gets warmer than usual?
that is because, heat is getting lost from the oven to the outside.
That is a waste of energy that coudl be avoided.
for eg. for many items like casseroles , try making them in a microwave than in an oven.
Microwave works on a whole other principle where micrwaves vibrate the food particles that then produce heat. the advanatage is that , the moment you switch off the microwave , the waves stop and no more heat loss.
try it. try using methods like stove top cheesecake making rather than oven, avoid energy wastage.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Don't leave the tap water running while shaving ,brushing or dishwashing

Okay, I used to at one point do that, keep the tap running coz i would like to rinse as soon as i scrub. I do it even now sometimes, but the most ideal way to wash dishes or shave your face(for me and some hairy faced women as well) or brush is to open the tap only when you are ready to rinse .
You won't believe how much of water you save that . see what happened in georgia, a lake dried up.. this happens when you use more and more when you can use lesser.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Use reusable containers for food storage in the fridge

I notice that a lot of people use disposable zipper bags to store food, then once they eat the food, they happily throw the zipper bag in the bin.
I am not against convenient methods to save time. I have a busy job too. But a stich in time saves nine. All of us need to get out being part of the problem and hop onto to actually physically trying to not be part of the problem .
what is the solution?
Store food is containers with lids. these boxes can then be washed off in the dishwasher and reused.
great way to reduce your garbage load especially of nonbiodegradable wastes esp those zipper lock bags.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Drip irrigation conserves water !

Why do we need to conserve water you might ask.
yeah, it is renewable in a given way, but then given the exploding population of humans, the rate at which we are polluting it and using it up exceeds the rate at which it is being replenished.
Water conservation is a great idea therefore.
Drip irrigation is a great idea.
Drip irrigation involves using a long wide tube with pinholes at each plant, where the water drips drop by drop all day at the roots of the plant and thus makign water availble to the roots all day while at the same time making sure that water doesn't get wasted by mere evaporation into the skies. It saves a lot of water that way.
A drip irrigation system is fairly easy to set up too.Just plan your garden such that plants are planted in a fairly straight fashion. make sure your pipe is large bored. A hollow bamboo pole would work too.
The hollow bamboo pole or the wide pipe needs to be plugged off at the end though.
Then make holes with the tiniest pit at each location where the plant is located along the line of the pipe. use wooden stilts adjacent to each plant to support the pipe such that it lies a lil above the ground level. connect this pipe to a water source.
watch how the water drips only drop by drop at each plant. this works so well.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

growing your own food is a great way to contribute to the environment

It is a pity that a lot of people think that food comes out of supermarkets.
What beats them completely is that farmers out there somewhere wait and tenderly grow plants till their bear fruit.
this food then changes so many hands before it lands on the supermarket.In doing so , so much of fuel is spend transporting, packaging and processing foods.
Sometimes foods need to be refrigerated all the way.
Growing your own food, esp during spring and summer, especially basics like potatoes, herbs, tomatoes and berries etc really can help reducing fuel consumption and at the same time allows us to eat organic.
great idea , dontcha think?

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