Sustainability Hacks: The final word

This theme has been tricky to write for. On one hand, here at Hackaday, we are excited about doing anything that will allow us to not consume as many resources but on the other hand, when you really look closely at things, pretty much everything that we do in our modern lives isn’t sustainable. We can certainly find ways to get by with less but doing without really isn’t an option. The exciting thing about the current state of technology is that things are becoming a lot more efficient so the things that we do every day, such as using a computer require less and less energy. Even our cars, which for nearly 100 years drove around at 25 miles per gallon are starting to slowly require less fuel to get from point A to point B. We have a long way to go but there are signs that we (or our children) might not have to give up a modern life to continue on when coal and oil start to become scarce.

Shown above is an oil lamp made to look like a light bulb created by Opossum Design. It is an interesting use of modern technology to create light in a much more sustainable way.

Tomorrow we will be starting a new unofficial theme that will continue for the rest of October. For the past several years, we have been a bit behind the curve about Halloween stuff but we intend to make up for that in a big way. Halloween is one of those holidays that brings out the tinkerer in a lot of us. We would like to show off those projects. Hit us up on our tip line. If we like what we see, we will post about your project. We’re expecting a bunch of projects so unlike our prior themes, if we happen to get more than one that we like on a given day, we’ll post more.

Comments

  1. uzerzero says:

    I’m really tempted to try and make my own lightbulb lamp now…

  2. Tenbob says:

    I simply do not understand the “sustainability” culture. What are you guys worried about? Prices always control the allocation of certain resources. So if say for example copper is becoming unsustainablely used, prices rise and thus people consume less copper and if copper is truly becoming more scarce entrepreneurs will rush in trying to make profit(a good thing) and solve the scarcity problem with more production of copper or a viable replacement.

    So I do not understand why anyone needs to be willful about consuming resources because prices automatically control the scarcity of things unless the government interferes.

    • Mike says:

      You’re absolutely right. Overpopulation is a myth too. It would become too expensive to have kids long before we even came close to overpopulation. The real threat to humanity is the iron fist of governments distorting prices, misalocating resources, and waging war. All that is really needed is a truly free market (which does not exist today- contrary to popular belief) and a respect for property rights.

      • Alan says:

        Right. Then *after* all the resources are gone and mass starvation ensues, the survivors will lead happy lives. Until, of course, the process repeats.

        We have brains and ought to use them to better the world.

      • Alan says:

        Reuse of materials in an art project (check). Sustainable? No.

      • Kyle says:

        @Alan. In order to use that argument you have to refute econ 101 and price theory. Prices inform people about the scarcity of resources. You can simply not run out of resources as long as there is no interference from the government.
        See this lecture.
        http://mises.org/media/6541/Environmental-and-Resource-Economics

      • blucat says:

        Your statement is simply opinion as you didn’t reference anything creditable.

      • M H says:

        I am sure it is so comforting to those who starve to death, or have to do without, or die for lack of a given resource that they can not afford things that we have not “run out,” the resource is there but not accessible.

        Or is there some magic in economics that also provides wealth to everybody so that everyone can afford to buy the resources they need in order to survive.

        Robinson Crusoe was blessed with a whole ship-load of technological goods to help him survive on his island.

        Verne endowed Mysterious Island with a wealth of natural resources and the party wrecked there with one incredibly knowledgeable engineer who could make use of those resources.

        It would be interesting to see what one of these economists who says that resources appear to fill the need would do when shipwrecked. Are they really that much cleverer than any previous shipwreck victims? Exactly how do you create copper where none exists?

        Sure, on Gilligans Island the professor could make a radio or a nuclear reactor out of coconuts, but the economists claim to do it without the coconuts – pretty impressive. Wonder how they do it.

    • FDP says:

      Agreed, there is clearly no shortage of idiots on the HAD forums when it comes to politics. “I love technology but hate that science nonsense the damn liberals are always trying to stuff down our throats”.

      I guess we’ll just have to wait for Jesus to fly down on a pterodactyl and resupply the world with copper after the state of Texas has used up the global supply…

      • Volfram says:

        If it was actual science instead of blatant fearmongering and a massive ruse to line Al Gore’s pockets with gold(seriously, the “carbon credits” he buys to offset his private jet come from companies that he owns), the less deluded of us might actually care.

        I also invite you to explain how copper, of all things, is going to get used up when you can always take a few pounds down to the local recycling center for some spare change.

    • klaymen says:

      “prices automatically control the scarcity of things unless the government interferes.”

      That’s easy to say when you have food to eat and a place to live. Your belief that the market will somehow, magically, make us have more resources when they are used up is pretty naive. It seems that you believe that there is a never ending supply of material that can be substituted for other material when we run out of something. There will come a time when we have to mine landfills for resources. Why not make it easier on ourselves and “read the writing on the walls” so to speak.

      Sustainability is about more than just reusing materials. It is about creating an environment where life can thrive.

      • Eirinn says:

        That was my thought too :)

        Oil also comes in infinite amounts you know! Because when the human race dies out one day we’ll probably turn into new oil the new species can use. If there’s anything left for them to live from :P

    • pete says:

      I don’t think those reading will understand sustainability until we are once again living in the stone age.

  3. NeilJB says:

    25 mpg? It was a lot worse than that.

  4. NeilJB says:

    And another thing… Oil lamps are inefficient in terms of the ratio of heat to light they emit (lots of heat, not much light) and they use OIL, the very thing that is about to become harder to get. And as for vegetable/renewable oils, they must be grown somewhere and compete with food crops. Palm oil is a great example. As a sustainability hack, this one falls a long way short of the mark because it uses a scarce resource in a very inefficient manner.

    • Dax says:

      It isn’t even funny how so much of the “sustainability” movement is simply ludditism.

      There are reasons why people gave up oil lamps, even gas lamps, like the radioactive mantles that gave of small particles as they crumbled down in use.

      • Volfram says:

        They claim if we keep using certain resources, we’ll run out. Their response is to try to prevent us from using those very same resources, and when their success causes a shortage(as in the case of the oil and nuclear embargos), they claim to have been right about their artificial catastrophe.

        Sorry, but I was told to “Fill the earth and subdue it.” To me, that means take advantage of every natural resource available, domesticate all useful organisms, and marginalize the ones that don’t benefit us.(Fortunately for them, nearly all living things on this planet are useful to man. Their extinction hurts us.)

        Humanity is still below a 1.0 on the Kardashev scale, and people are talking about how we’re running out of energy. Once we’ve managed to harness the energy of the entire planet, there’s a star just under a hundred million miles from us that kicks out more energy per day than the human mind can really comprehend, just less than 1% is pointed in our general direction.

        If humanity as a race ever want to rise any higher, we need to start using the energy available to us, not castrating ourselves by saying that if we use it, we might run out. That’s what consumable resources exist for. If you never use them, that’s worse than not having them.

      • Eirinn says:

        The point is reaching a a regenetative cyclus, not ravage the entire planet and then find another one to live on.

        – do you understand the difference?

      • Eirinn says:

        All i see in this thread is squabble squabble sqabble and something about politics.

        This is why we can’t have nice things – the F’ing end.

  5. matt says:

    This lamp is really easy to make using a real light bulb. All you have to do is break the bottom out (the black glass on the bottom contact) using a screwdriver or such, and then break off the filament stem and wash out the phosphorous. then fill with oil and add a wick. Super easy and fun project, and a simple stand can be made by wrapping thick wire around the screw-on threads

  6. LEDs are so ubiquitous, inexpensive, efficient and safe that I would hesitate to use a naked flame again for lighting except possibly for ambiance or emergencies.

    That being said, the lamp itself is wicked cool.

    Hack-a-day might try scouring the tubes of interwebs for an easy LED candle simulator circuit. That would make an efficient and safe pumpkin illumination.

    • Dax says:

      LEDs are not inexpensive, and they produce such a narrow spectrum of light that they aren’t really a good substitution for general lighting.

      Unless of course you don’t mind that the Ra of your lighting is less than 70.

      • Dax says:

        And the practical efficiency of the LED, ballast included, is actually less than of fluorescent lighting.

        It’s about on par with compact fluorescents, around 60 lm/W, so you still can’t beat a good HE T5 tube with an electronic ballast.

      • Catalog #: 276-017 at Radio Shack “I need it now” mark-up is $2.19, and either one of the two white LEDs would put out the equivalent of this lamp.

        For $2.19 you could get about half a pint of low-odor lamp oil, half a gallon of smelly kerosene, or about one and a half candles.

        If you’re careful to only use mostly dead AAA cells in it, you can get a three white LED flashlight at the dollar store for a buck.

  7. >…pretty much everything that we do in our modern lives isn’t sustainable.

    BTW, the number one, two and three, unsustainable issues that we really need to get on ASAP are Medicaid, the Federal Budget, and Social Security.

    Funny how many who always talk about “sustainability” somehow think we can tax and spend our way out of the Great Recession.

    • Matt says:

      *applause*

      This lamp is petty sweet though.

    • Joe Bonasses says:

      Contrary to popular (and misinformed) belief, the current story isn’t a spending one, its a revenue issue. The conservative’s Great Recession and the associated revenue loss has been the primary driver of the deficit over the last few years. Aside from the three unfunded wars, of course….

      • Thanks for including Libya. And no, the ones with (R) after their name aren’t much better.

      • PI says:

        The difference between the federal budget and the budget of any responsible household is that in the case of the Federal government, no amount of revenue is EVER enough. Spending simply increases, no matter how much money you give them. That’s because politicians and the parasites they buy votes from are always more than willing to spend OTHER people’s money. Both political parties, BTW, are guilty of this.

        People like me, the people who actually PAY FOR social security, for the wars we’re fighting, for other people’s food stamps, their free medical care, subsidies, grants, and more, never have the option to resolve our personal “revenue” problems by forcing others, at the point of a bayonet, to give us more cash. If we did that, it would be called robbery, and yet, that’s precisely what the government does when they inevitably run short of cash.

        On those rare occasions when they feel they can’t get away with raising taxes, then they simply print more money. Unfortunately, since that has no effect but to water down the value of all of our money, including whatever meager savings or retirement funds we’ve stashed away, the effect is that of a tax, even upon people and assets who are not supposed to be taxed.

        When the economy tanked, my household revenue was cut in half. We had only one option. We did what RESPONSIBLE self-disciplined ADULTS do: we simply SPEND LESS and LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS.

        AS I cut back to make ends meet, the POTUS and his cronies put me and every man, woman, and child in the U.S. on the hook for 1.7 MILLION dollars in loan guarantees to Solyndra. Now Solyndra has folded. Will you ever make enough money to pay your “fair share” of this? I know I won’t. And what did it buy us? And all of this is like spit in the ocean compared to the 8.5 TRILLION in bailout expenses we amassed.

        So, as to your implication that this mess is being caused by “conservatives,” I’ll say this: As long as people like you treat the destruction of America and our combined future as a team sport, that is to say Republicans vs Democrats, then we’re doomed. You’re doing exactly what politicians want you to do— dissipate your anger and energy in nonproductive political team sports.

        Both parties have screwed us, and that goes at least as far back as WWII.

      • shazzner says:

        Can you guys knock it off with the Libertarian shit? No one cares.

      • >isn’t a spending one, its a revenue issue

        Right, because the idea that everyone’s real estate investment will keep going up _forever_ is totally sustainable. (As long as we have an unlimited supply of the “greater fool” to buy at that higher price though, everyone can live high on the hog and no one has to worry about sub-prime loans and optional-ARMs because we can just do a refinance and “paper over” everything!)

      • Joe Bonasses says:

        Yes, conservatives. People who believe in deregulation and less government. The same group that deregulated banks, allowing Wall Street to securitize residential mortgages, causing the most unprecedented rise and subsequent fall in real estate prices in our nation’s history, essentially creating what would have been larger than the Great Depression had the Fed not intervened to prevent a run on banks. Sorry the truth hurts so much…

      • Matt says:

        @Joe Bonasses:
        You’re right, deregulation was partially responsible for the whole mess.
        You know what was more responsible? People buying things they can’t afford.

        You know who pushes for people to buy things they shouldn’t be able to afford? It’s not conservatives, and CERTAINLY not Libertarians.

        Some people (I won’t say who) seem to think that everyone should be able to have the same things regardless of whether they deserve them or not. Now, I want to hear you say that the recent situation would be the same if we hadn’t had large numbers of people buying houses they couldn’t afford.

        I’m a little unsure how the current situation can not be a “spending problem” when we’re spending billions of dollars extra after we knew the income was going to be down. Doesn’t really make sense, does it?

        So, while you keep thinking it’s all the fault of the conservatives while you idly read HAD and blame other people for the problem, how about you take a moment or two to think about what you’ve done to help the situation? If you don’t think the current situation is related to a spending problem, what’s your solution, hot-shot?

      • Joe Bonasses says:

        @Matt –

        >You’re right, deregulation was partially responsible for the whole mess.
        You know what was more responsible? People buying things they can’t afford.

        Nope, fully responsible. I’d be inclined to go with “Wall Street giving kickbacks to banks to sell sub-prime mortgages”.

        >Now, I want to hear you say that the recent situation would be the same if we hadn’t had large numbers of people buying houses they couldn’t afford.

        Nope, large numbers of people wouldn’t be buying houses they couldn’t afford if residential mortgages weren’t securitized. Banks would have no reason to push them on consumers, it would be foolish without subsidies from Wall Street.

        Bitter pill to swallow for conservatives, I guess. Of course, these are the same people who think Barney Frank is somehow responsible for all of Europe’s debt woes….

      • Matt says:

        @Joe Bonasses:

        You’re placing all of the blame on the system and none of the blame on the idiots that took advantage of the system.
        If people can think that they want to be responsible about sustainable resources I don’t see why they can’t think about their own lives a little bit without having the nanny-state take care of everything for them. People get what’s coming to them in all cases.

        @HAD: Sorry about this. I’d be happy to take this elsewhere, but neither of us has an email posted. As long as the thread is here, though, I’m not going to let statements with which I so vehemently disagree stand unanswered.

      • Volfram says:

        @shazzner: you obviously care enough to try to shut them up, and I obviously care enough to come here and call you an idiot, so I’mma call you wrong on two cases there.

        Also, you’re an idiot.

      • Joe Bonasses says:

        @ Matt

        >”You’re placing all of the blame on the system and none of the blame on the idiots that took advantage of the system.”

        The idiots that took advantage of the system are the same ones who deregulated it. Not sure why it’s so difficult for you. Repeat three times – “Conservatives are wholly responsible for the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”

      • Volfram says:

        “Conservatives are wholly responsible for the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”

        Yep, Joe Bonasses has displayed that he wouldn’t recognize reality if it snuck up behind him and smashed his brains out with a baseball bat.

        Philosophically speaking, everybody involved in a given event is at least partly responsible for it. Liberals were just as involved in the economics of the past five decades as the Conservatives, they’re responsible as well.

        On top of that, it wasn’t the conservatives who sued the banks and forced them to give sub-prime home mortgages to people they knew would never pay them back. You yourself blamed the establishment for the economic mess, by your own admission, it’s Acorn, and thus the Liberals, who are to blame for the current financial state of things.

        Word of advice: don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

      • Joe Bonasses says:

        >”On top of that, it wasn’t the conservatives who sued the banks and forced them to give sub-prime home mortgages to people they knew would never pay them back”

        No one sued anyone to force them to give sub-prime home mortgages to anyone. What on earth are you talking about? Sub-prime lending was driven by CDO’s, which were pools of loans that were created by Wall Street in the form of securities, BEFORE THE LOANS WERE EVER MADE.

        >”You yourself blamed the establishment for the economic mess, by your own admission, it’s Acorn, and thus the Liberals, who are to blame for the current financial state of things.”

        Acorn? Huh? Again, what on earth are you talking about? WTF does Acorn have to do with anything? Conservatives and their banking buddies are the ones that gutted all the depression era banking/finance laws. This is what drove sub-prime lending, and the resultant massive rise and fall of real estate prices.

        I think you’re the one drinking the Kool Aid, and don’t even know it…

      • Joe Bonasses says:

        >”Liberals were just as involved in the economics of the past five decades as the Conservatives, they’re responsible as well.”

        In the initial senate vote on Gramm Leach Bliley, 49 Democrats voted against the bill, 52 Republicans voted for it. So yeah, involved in the sense that they were opposed to foolishly gutting legislation that had been highly effective for about 66 years:

        http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=s1999-105

      • Volfram says:

        Before you start trying to cover things up, why don’t you do a Google search. “Acorn bank lawsuit.”

        Here, let me save you the trouble.

        http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&source=hp&q=acorn+bank+lawsuit&pbx=1&oq=acorn+bank+lawsuit&aq=f&aqi=q-n1&aql=1&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=366l2728l0l4239l18l13l0l0l0l1l1071l7767l3-1.3.7.1.1l13l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=851ea654552f08fc&biw=1280&bih=694

        I’ve seen bad liars before, but you make Baghdad Bob look like a research pro.

      • Matt says:

        @Joe:
        Your biggest problem (as is the case with many die-hards from both sides of the political spectrum) is that you’re unwilling to see any fault at all from the players on your side of the table.
        Everybody screwed up. You can’t place all the blame on one end of the spectrum.

        The fact that you can continue to insist that the entire financial situation of this country right now is a) not any fault whatsoever of anyone who ever even thought for a moment that they might be a liberal and b) totally unrelated to the fact that our government is dumping enormous gobs of money into an abyss is amazing to me.
        I suggest you get out into the world a little more often and see how screwed up it really is– on both sides of the fence– since you’re adding to the problem that makes Americans look like idiots in the world’s eyes.

      • Volfram says:

        @Matt

        I also google-searched him. Based on some of the things he’s posted, I doubt he’s ever had a real job in his life. My money’s on some sort of propogandist: journalism, Acorn themselves, or another part of the mass Liberal rumor mill.

        I refuse to believe that someone could actually believe the BS he’s spewing, so that rules out a blind sheep.

        He’s not worshipping at the altar of Liberalism. He’s one of the clergy.

      • Joe Bonasses says:

        @ Volfram – The lawsuits you are referring to occurred in the nineties, before Wall Street was deregulated in ’99/2000. Redlining has absolutely nothing to do with the financial crisis and sub-prime lending, and I challenge you to provide one shred of evidence to the contrary. Look at the sheer volume of CDO’s that were written in 2003~2006, then look at real estate prices during the same time frame. There’s your smoking gun.

        @ Matt – I don’t need to worry about making Americans look like idiots in the world’s eyes, since conservatives and THEIR deregulation have essentially destroyed the world economy.

        Bottom line – sub-prime lending was driven by Wall Street, and wasn’t possible before conservatives and their banking buddies repealed Glass Steagall. You really need to broaden your horizons a bit, turn off your narrow world view radio talk shows…

      • Volfram says:

        We had a liberal-run congress for six years, the last two of which were accompanied by a white-hating socialist President. The Liberals have had plenty of time to shove through whatever regulations they’ve wanted, and we have a new health care system, two bailouts, and three wars, none of which the American public was in favor of, and none of which the now Conservative-run congress has been able to do anything about, to prove it. If the Liberals weren’t able to ram through regulations to “fix” the economy in this amount of time, it’s their own fault.

        At best, they are at fault for doing nothing to halt the catastrophe. At worst, they’re actively propagating it, good intentions or no.

        An economy is a massive and complex organism. If a single event is able to induce it to collapse, then it is a sign that much more is wrong than simple need for regulations.

        Additionally, you are a liar and a treasonous, dogmatic charlatan. I have made my case, your own cause will betray you soon enough. My work here is done.

      • Joe Bonasses says:

        That’s odd. I responded to your point about Acorn lawsuits, but you didn’t challenge a single point that I made. So I guess I’ll go with some more data, feel free to challenge any of it.

        Here is a chart showing by date the issuance of asset backed securities:

        http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/12/img/fcic_column1.jpg

        Note that this chart only starts at Y2000, as previous to the passage of Gramm Leach Bliley, and the Futures and Commodity Act of 2000 (written, introduced, and passed by conservatives) these types of investments didn’t exist. Also note the significance of subprime equity relative to the others.

        Here is a chart showing historical home prices, going back to 1890. You can clearly see how significant the recent real estate bubble actually was in this chart.

        http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/case-shiller-updated.png

        This real estate bubble is why the last decade has been referred to by many as a “Lost Decade”. Do you think this bubble could have occured had conservatives not eliminated the separation of commercial and investment banking, allowing investment bankers to sell securitized residential mortgages? Why would a bank lend money to a minority with no chance of repayment? Is it because of “an Acorn lawsuit”, or the fact that Wall Street is giving the banks thousands of dollars in mortgage origination fees to push a sub prime mortgage? Which one? I’m truly interested to hear your opinion.

    • John Birmingham says:

      This is about sustainable resources, not something completely arbitrary and fake like money and the economy. It doesn’t matter how large the economy is or how much you aren’t paying in taxes, if there isn’t any oil or food you aren’t going anywhere while you starve to death.

      • Matt says:

        I’m petty sure “unsustainable”covers our entire current social situation. Can’t you at least agree that if the government were not worried about the “financial crisis” and had a purpose that were smaller in scope, they could spend more time guiding the world toward the future rather than worrying about how to pay for the past?

        Yup, sustainability is great, but while maintaining the available resources to run a society is very important, keeping the motor of the society itself running goes hand-in-hand when it comes to having a successful future for all of us.

  8. Joe Bonasses says:

    “Even our cars, which for nearly 100 years drove around at 25 miles per gallon”. Yeah, Clinton really dropped the ball on that one. I often wonder where we would be now if we would have had more reasonable governmental regulation over the years. Might even have an EV-2 on the market by this time….

    http://wiki.ece.cmu.edu/ddl/images/thumb/CAFE_mpg_standard.png/350px-CAFE_mpg_standard.png

    • you know, I’d probably have a Waste Veggie Oil powered plug-in hybrid by now if it wasn’t for the “reasonable governmental regulation” that prevent me from legally doing an engine swap on a car if the original model never came with that engine block as an option.

      Yes, even if I could get it past the sniffer test.

      $535 million down the tubes for Solyndra and “reasonable governmental regulation” that just happen to prevent small start-ups from innovating in the US car market just like Government Motors.

  9. moo says:

    I wish my 09 WRX got 25 mpg.

  10. Tenbob says:

    I simply do not understand the “sustainability” culture. What are you guys worried about? Prices always control the allocation of certain resources. So if say for example copper is becoming unsustainablely used, prices rise and thus people consume less copper and if copper is truly becoming more scarce entrepreneurs will rush in trying to make profit(a good thing) and solve the scarcity problem with more production of copper or a viable replacement.

    So I do not understand why anyone needs to be willful about consuming resources because prices automatically control the scarcity of things unless the government interferes.

    • Dax says:

      Because so many of the resources are becoming scarce so fast that it threatens a total collapse of society when the prices start to rise up.

      It’s one thing if copper becomes so rare that the price shoots up 100 fold. Just don’t use copper anymore – but when just about everything from aurum to yttrium is becoming more scarce at the same time, it’s a problem.

      How do you prospect and mine for more copper, when you don’t have the rare earth metals for the instruments you use, and the oil for your drill, or the ammonium for your explosives?

  11. shazzner says:

    I think “sustainability” is the wrong word but the right direction. Our current infrastructure is unsustainable as it, especially when it comes suburban sprawl, zoning laws, energy incentives, etc. Even if we get our cars running on clean energy we have to drive 40 miles to work. Our current “No Tax!” fever is depleting the infrastructure as is, yet seem to all wait on a techno-miracle to keep our SUV on the road. Solar, Wind, Thermo, etc are very key to this sustainable future, but first we must all learn to live and work closer, grow our own food, and rely less on imports.

  12. Will says:

    Hell I wish my 99 1/2 ton Silverado averaged 15mpg!

  13. shazzner says:

    My bike, unfortunately, only gets 8mpgo-gurt “The grab and go yogurt!” (TM)

  14. Sustainable should have one criterium : NO BURNING STUFF

    • N0LKK says:

      That should be no burning of prehistoric carbon, but that isn’t likely to subside until the last of it’s consumed. Yes I’m going say carbon neutral, burning what can be carbon neutral isn’t a problem, the problem is that most carbon neutral fuel sources aren’t very portable. Liquid bio-fuels are , but they bring along their own baggage.

      • Dax says:

        Then you don’t have much to burn.

        Because things like biomass burners aren’t really carbon neutral. They short out half of the the carbon cycle and prevent carbon from getting re-buried as it naturally comes out of volcanoes etc.

        And the amount of biomass required to satisfy even a portion of our energy needs is so massive that it will disrupt the natural carbon cycle anyways and destroy the environment in a different way.

        The previous energy crisis we had back in the middle ages was because we ran out of stuff to burn. England for example simply ran out of wood for smelting iron and making ships, and they had to pass laws on the manufacture of charcoal, until they figured out how to boil out the impurities in coal to make coke instead.

      • Dax says:

        If you want a tangible example, just look at southern England on google maps. Zoom in a bit on the satellite view.

        Can you see any forests?
        Nope. More than 90% of the land is fields and road.

        That is a direct result of a people forced to live off the land in every sense back in history, without any other energy source than what they can grow. If they hadn’t discovered coal as a byproduct of mining for metals, the whole of UK would have ended up like the Easter Islands.

  15. N0LKK says:

    25MPG for nearly 100 years? Jack must had been hanging around some story telling old farts, LOL. We nor our children aren’t going to have to give up much. Lifestyles are sure to change no doubt, but there needn’t be any hardship. Yes there are those would tell us that, but they are the members of the Plutarchy that but in place a unsustainable economy based on ever growing consumption beyond basic needs, and have profited the most from it. things like spending up to 8 hours on the road so 5 year old can play organized sports on the weekend are likely to end. Would a smaller fishing boat that needs less horsepower, but less fuel to operate be a hardship? In the end don’t let those who goal is to be keep control of it all BS us. The only hardship they are likely to suffer is a reduced growth rate of their wealth accumulation, and the power that come with it

  16. Mustafa says:

    That lamp looks nice but is horribly inefficient.
    I bet you could get more light from that oil if it was burned in a power plant and used to light up an old fashioned incandescent bulb!

  17. Cyk says:

    Having collected kerosene lamps for years, I can tell you that still air burners like this are not very effektive.
    A mantle lamp like the Aladdin is much more effektive.

  18. Quintin says:

    Make an oil lamp and call it sustainable… This would fit more on some design blog.

    Oil lamps are only useful if you can not get electricity. I’ve only seem them used in remote parts of third world countries. I left my solar-recharged camping lamp there when I went home.

    For real geek-credit someone should take a look at the laser headlight tech BMW is working on and build something like that. It supposedly is twice as efficient as LED lighting.

  19. Bob says:

    Another troll article from HaD, where has the quality gone?

    How can inefficiently burning oil possibly be more sustainable than an electric light?

  20. Alex says:

    This looks like the work of a design student who had to shoehorn meaning into a Neat Thing he or she made. Artists’ statements, and particularly those made by “designers” are often this terrible… :|

  21. Blue Footed Booby says:

    1. Oh my god political discussion on this site is awful. Why is it that dubious technical claims are met with demands for citations, while dubious economic, sociological, etc claims are met with *more dubious claims*?

    2. HaD needs to axe the sustainability hacks because they very, very obviously don’t “get” it. The stuff featured here isn’t even the lame strawman pseudo-sustainability that gets paid lip service by people trying to target the forward-looking demographic. It seems more like the writers literally don’t understand what the term means.

    At the very least I’d like to see more people coming to grips with the fact that centralized power generation is more efficient than crap you rig together in your back yard. Running a normal light bulb, let alone a fluorescent or LED, with electricity from a plant, even if that plant is burning fossil fuels, is more efficient than a goddamn oil lamp.

    • Blue Footed Booby says:

      Really, all the tedious, pseudo-intellectual political grandstanding in the world couldn’t make point 1 overshadow point 2. A number of the “sustainability hacks” featured so far are eye roll inducing, but those pale in comparison to this. It is a grotesque mockery of sustainability and oh my god I should probably just stop typing before my head starts spinning in circles and blood comes pouring out of my eyes

      Seriously, HaD, I’m not one of those malcontents who complain about the good old days and poop on every article for not meeting my unrealistic standards. Good writing is hard, and we all have off days. But the fact that you seriously wrote slapped the word “sustainability” over an oil lamp makes me wonder if you’ve replaced your writers with some kind of unholy homunculus with no soul and USB ports for eyes.

      Christ, I’m turning into Spider Jerusalem and this is *all your fault.*

  22. baobrien says:

    I think this applies pretty well to HaD’s target demographic and their political opinions: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1776#comic

  23. N0LKK says:

    “…I do not understand why anyone needs to be willful about consuming resources because prices automatically control the scarcity of things unless the government interferes”

    Higher prices only come after those little or no value added speculators who we allow to set prices conclude that scarcity is emanate or has occurred. Price can’t control scarcity, they can only control who can afford what has become scarce.

    I agree that a free market no longer exists. Might be a good thing too. Lasseze faire capitalism is likely to lead to communism in the USA. either it be by violence, or the voting booth. The US Constitution puts forth protections for commerce, it doesn’t proscribe any economic model.

    Before I unsubscribe from receiving new comment to this post, a word on KoolAide. There are multiple flavors of it, chance are great those who accuse another of drinking it, have been drinking their favorite flavor all along. Enjoy chasing each other in circles, I’m out, even as a spectator

  24. Eirinn says:

    All i see in this thread is squabble squabble sqabble and something about politics.

    This is why we can’t have nice things – the F’ing end.

  25. Nitori says:

    How is this any more sustainable then lets say an LED or even gasp a small incandescent lamp?
    Which won’t burn you house down if it’s knocked over?
    Electricity can be made with renewable sources ie wind or solar.

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