About "Catch & Research"

Welcome. I found my passion in ecological economics and fishing. They are all about pursuit of unknown and uncertain objects. I always enjoy the seemingly reckless pursuit itself. This blog is a record of my long journey in research and fishing. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A solution for hate groups in America

I watched documentaries about hatred groups in America at NatGeo. Dudes who were shouting "white power" looked like boy scouts to my eyes. Ridiculous. I could not but laugh... They are just like hooligans (crazy British soccer fans).

Why do people join those groups? Job competition, especially low paying jobs, between blue color whites and immigrants explains somewhat. But I think the extreme boredom in American country side might allure frustrated people to those groups. I could read from young Klansmen's eyes that they love their role playing. It is a pity that those people do not know how to enjoy life. In particular, bars and night clubs in country side are pitiful. Even in urban areas.

So, to solve the problem of growing number of hate groups in America, I suggest to have more and better bars and night groups in America. Better night life could reduce those poor people's frustration. It will apply to Muslim extremists. Unfortunately, Muslims do not drink. We need find other good entertainments for these extremists. Holy dance night club, probably?

Monday, December 21, 2009

MS Word trouble with Zotero

So, finally I decided to go with MS Word. I was satisfied with improved equation editor and expanded spread sheet. But I faced annoying trouble of MS Word: I consistently get error message when I try to edit bibliography, which Zotero produced, at MS Word document. The error message says:
Run-time error '91'
Object variable or With block variable not set
It is a well known problem at Zotero forum. I searched the forum, and I tried every single solution. But there was no cure for my case. Zotero forum also says that the cause of the error is unknown in many cases. I had no problem to edit my bibliography at Open Office, which I miss already. Finally, I gave up. I would rather edit my bibliography without Zotero field. Someone suggested to use JabRef which uses BibTeX, but I don't have much time to fiddle with new application...

By the way, I tested the problem at MS Word 2003 at a different computer. I got the same error message. Something wrong at the relationship between MS Word and Zotero. I bet Zotero hates MS Word. Or, vice versa.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Microsoft Office 2010 Plus (beta)

I downloaded and installed Microsoft Office 2010 Plus beta version. I have used Open Office and supported it for academic use. But when I started writing and editing my dissertation, I found it is difficult to use Open Office. Not because of its quality, but because of its compatibility. My advisor started using MS office 2007, and it was hard to convert document that he sent me with comments. Also, RPI provides its dissertation template in MS Word and LaTeX format. Too bad.

Main reasons why I supported Open Office were (1) equation editor, and (2) more powerful spread sheet function. Open Office has much better equation editor than MS Office 2003. MS Excel cannot handle large spread sheet (over 250 by 250 matrix, not sure about exact number).

I found that Office 2010 has improved at these two points. (Actually, there were improvements in Office 2007. I didn't pay attention on Office 2007 because of disappointing reviews of it.) And its beta version is free till October 2010, when I will be long gone from school. So, finally, I decided to go back to MS Office, taking advantage of the free beta version. After that, I may go back to Open Office, or not...

So far, I am satisfied with Office 2010. It has all functions that I need. Equation editor works really fine. However, its interface is not so user friendly (to me). It is similar to Office 2007: whenever I use Office 2010, I am amazed how well they could hide tools that I need most. Its tool bar requires significant amount of time to get used to it. That's my only complaint. Good thing is that you can customize tool bars more freely. I will write more about it when I found something.

You can download the beta version HERE. You need MSN ID or Hotmail account.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

Original Hubbert Curve

I found Hubbert's 1956 original graph. He projected oil production would reach the peak in 2000. Thankfully, not. But it will. Researchers have revised the curve when new oil reserves were discovered. Nothing wrong with the original idea of Hubbert's.

M. King Hubbert. 1956. Nuclear energy and fossil fuels.

[Review] Wool socks

I cannot believe that I am writing a review about socks. Yes, believe it or not, this post is a review about a pair of wool socks.

I bought a ridiculously expensive pair of wool socks ($17.99 at Dick's Sporting Goods), but now I can tell you that they are really worth the money. The pair was made by Smartwool, which makes new generation of wool clothing. Wool apparel is a new trend of outdoor apparel. After long experiment with synthetic fabrics, finally researchers realized that wool is the most ideal fabric for outdoor activities. Wool is superior to other synthetic fabrics in (1) moisture wicking (2) thermal insulation (3) ventilation, and (4) odor control.

Some of you may say that you do not like wool clothing because of itching. Old wool sweaters cause itching. But new generation of wool clothing is different. They are made from fine wool fiber and processed to be soften. Smartwool is one of the companies that make the new wool apparel. I have known this news but did not have a chance to try on. When I received a discount coupon from Dick's, I decided to give a shot on this luxurious socks.

Product info:
  • Model: Men's Heathered Rib (light cushion. There are various cushion types. I picked light cushion because I thought that fishing trip typically does not require much cushion.)
  • Contents: 72% wool, 23% nylon, 5% elastic (different models have different contents)
  • Price: $17.99 (made in US)
  • Treatment: Machine wash (warm) and machine dry (tumble dry low). Turn inside out. No fabric softener required. Do not iron. Do not dry clean.
Feeling of the socks was very soft but a little bit itchy at calf part. At first, I felt slippery in the socks. I am not sure whether it was because of oil residue or the nature of wool fabric. Anyway, I wanted to put this pair on an extreme test: I wore the same pair for 5 days and nights. I wanted to see whether it can ceaselessly make me comfortable during the time.

Results: the pair well passed the test. Moisture wicking was excellent. My feet didn't get wet or cold by sweating. I could not feel over heated while walking. To be honest, odor control was my major interest. Amazingly, the pair didn't stink after five days. Mild smell sweat, that was it. Um, in order to make it sure, I asked my wife to test it, and she agreed with me. Smartwool claims that their wool socks can keep feet cool when it is warm, but I could not test it at this time.

After five test days, I found that surface of the socks were a bit shaggy. I turned inside out and machine-washed them. Shags didn't look troublesome, but I am not sure after repeated use how shaggy it will become .

It is real irony to me that we didn't realize that wool is the best fabric for outdoor activities for long time. If you have your uncle's old wool sweater, why don't you wear it for your ice fishing this winter. You may want to wear cotton inner shirts first, though.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Really intuitive graphs about climate change

I found these graphs of European Climate Foundation very intuitive and helpful for anyone. Fourth graph shows probability that we could stay inside 2 degree Celsius limit. When we reduce more CO2e, then we can clearly increase our chances to be cool. But that does not necessarily guarantee our achievement of the goal. Well, everything depends on a chance.

I found these graphs at BBC web.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

LED bulb

Last May, I went to a summit of Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP). It was not an academic conference, but I was interested in energy saving technologies, which are commercially available, and energy efficiency policies of local governments. There was exhibition, and the most popular item was LED bulb and floor light. Here are some pictures that I took:

You might notice that they all have large metal heat sink. I didn't know that LED emit strong heat. I asked an engineer friend at RPI, who is majoring in LED technology, and he told me that single LED emit ignorable heat, but when condensed for brightness, total heat cannot be ignored. Well, that's common sense. At an exhibition booth, I heard that their company was developing water-cooler for LED bulb, which could significantly reduce the bulb size but was not easy to make at that time. I have not heard whether they have succeeded in the development.

LED is much energy efficient. That's true. But one question that I wanted to ask is total energy use of LED in its life cycle. How much energy is needed in producing metal heat sink? Does anybody know about life cycle analysis of LED? If you let me know, I will appreciate. Energy efficiency is never easy to assess.

Simulation tools for climate action planning

I had a chance to search and review simulation tools for climate action plan. Climate action plan requires to assess future effect of carbon reduction efforts on energy and the environment. These tools are used to compare various policy scenarios. Here is the list of tools.
  • Climate Rapid Overview and Decision-support Simulator (C-ROADS) is a user friendly simulation tool that provides climate simulation (temperature and sea level change) along with emission and energy demand simulation. C-ROADS is an accounting type model. With accounting model, users can fully control coefficients of the model. IPCC endorsed the methodology of C-ROADS. Note that instead of C-ROADS, I reviewed C-LEARN which is an on-line evaluation version of C-ROADS. C-LEARN requires only three sets of data, but C-ROADS may require more data.
  • Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning (LEAP) is an extensive simulator for GHG emission and energy demand forecast. LEAP is used by 85 countries for their official UNFCCC GHG inventory report. LEAP provides default data set for countries, however it does not provide default data for U.S. states. LEAP is an accounting type model.
  • MARket ALocation (MARKAL) model was originally developed by International Energy Agency (IEA) in the late 1980s. Nowadays, its variations are broadly used. Northeast MARKAL (NE-MARKAL) was developed by NESCAUM for the U.S. northeast states including New York. MARKAL is basically an optimization type model which assumes optimization activities of market participants in economies. MARKAL requires a separate procedure for GHG emission estimation.
  • Climate and Air Pollution Planning Assistant (CAPPA) by International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) seemed promising, although it has not been released yet, considered ICLEI’s other products, such as Clean Air and Climate Protection (CACP).
  • URBEMIS, and Sustainable Communities Model (SCM) are commercially available simulation packages developed by private companies. URBEMIS is tailored to California, using emission factors of California Air Resources Board’s EMFAC model. This simulator is specialized in estimating effects from construction. SCM builds and compares sophisticated scenarios with nine variables including socio-economic ones.
It is hard to tell which model is the best. Each model has specific use. C-ROADS seems useful in general cases because it provides climate simulation and requires low level of data.