two weeks into the new

I have so much to learn in my new job. I don't understand the simplest things about electricity, like the difference between AC and DC, impedance, inductance, reactance, resistance. There is so much to read. I have to have self-discipline even away from work to spend less time on the net and more time reading all the NEMMCO stuff and the other reports.

Around Christmas time I saw my first Samsung D900 phone in real life. I considered upgrading, because compared to my current Samsung D600 it has a 3 megapixel camera instead of a 2 megapixel camera, and it is thinner and 20g lighter. Then this weekend I've been reading reviews that say the battery life is terrible and the screen tends to crack. In fact there are more than 200 posts in the cracked screen thread. I had better be happy with what I have for now. I also have been reading reviews of the Nokia N95.

India made me think so much about the theme "what if everyone did this?", especially in relation to garbage and traffic. I didn't like the look of Indian cities very much. It requires very high population density, like in Bombay, to overcome the tendency of Indian people to throw garbage everywhere and create some place relatively clean. In Tehran, street cleaners were at work all the time, even before dawn, to make a cleaner environment. But in India (collective) cleanliness and hygiene are not high priorities. Religion, cricket, and family are all more important. Here, I have of course been thinking about water issues because of the terrible lack of rain we have been having in Brisbane. The fact that the Tarong power station is down to 30% capacity gets mentioned a lot at work. In the book "Games Indians Play" similar situations are mentioned explicitly -- the example given at the beginning of one chapter is: "because of a terrible drought, the government has asked everyone to shower only every second day. But what difference will it make if only you decide just once to have an extra shower?". Of course the problem occurs when everyone thinks like that. And I also thought about the other day when I was going from my work (basically the corner of Jephson Street and Sherwood Road) to the Broncos Leagues Club (98 Fulcher Street, Red Hill) on Friday after work. I was going to take the 5:57 bus from Toowong High Street (a timed stop) to Jubilee Avenue at 6:11 and then walk about 1km. That's what I did but the bus was about 13 minutes late. I could call and complain -- is it the correct thing to do? But are the people reading my complaint taking it seriously? If those people reading it do a half-arsed job responding to my complaint or doing anything about it, it makes very little difference. The bus will go on people late, people will switch to cars after a while, and our traffic problems will get worse. It made me think about my job and my previous job, where I had the same attitude sometimes -- "if I do a crap job, it makes very little difference". I didn't often think about the converse situation "if I do a wonderful job, will it make much of a difference?". I will try to be more conscientious. Back to the water: my flatmate is very environmentally conscious about recycling and water usage but in some ways I think it's all for nothing, because we use a Simpson 503 washing machine. It's 5L and I went to the water rating site to look at its equivalents. I was disturbed to find something similar gets only a 1.5 star rating. A front-loader would be more efficient for energy and water purposes.


At Monday, April 23, 2007 11:26:00 PM, Blogger Slartibartfast said...

Ahoy Mazda Ahura! I remember the Mazda Astina but do not recall the Ahura. I wonder if it resembles a fine automobile from Toyota, the Yaris.

Regarding your observation about my efficiency habits: "very environmentally conscious about recycling and water usage" - you're absolutely correct, I feel terrible about the clunky inefficient top-load washing machine in our household. Within my budget limitations I do want to address this.

Your main argument though is quite compelling (and disturbing) in this time of drought - how many other households have this inefficient older machine and don't care? My temporary housemate (who occupied your room while you were away travelling) was in the habit of washing five to ten items of clothing every two or three days on a 1/4 or half load - rather than saving all the clothes for a single big load less frequently. A waste of energy and water.

It bothered me - but then to consider the bigger picture like you have - how many households are just as indifferent or worse than temporary housemate?

Lots of people like to think they're special; they are an exception to the rule; or that their good deeds in other areas make up for bad karma racked up in a particular sphere. It's been examined in the social sciences as the 'free rider effect'. It is a persistent feature of democracies (in certain cultures more than others) and reducing this phenomenon requires very complex sets of measures.


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