Monday, October 28, 2013

The Changing Wind

Wind is a powerful force. It disperses seeds for new growth while also providing a cooling effect. Wind is also an energy force that is being collected in areas all over the world.

This morning, while I was perusing Twitter, I came across a tweet from The Guardian that said that Ethiopia has built the largest wind farm in subsaharan Africa. The wind energy captured from the wind farm will help to sustain Ethiopia's economic growth while providing energy for more of its inhabitants. This is a huge step towards a better Ethiopia. But at what price?

In order to gain something, generally we must give something up. It is just like what our mothers said: you want respect, you must first give respect. But how do you know what you have to give up in order to get something? Not everything has an obvious price tag like in the department store.  In my English class, we are coming up with innovation projects. In order to fix unknown unknowns, we go through a process called crows vs. crops. Basically, other students nitpick our projects and help us figure out its opportunity cost. In short it is what finalizes our cost-benefit analysis.

Windmills in Ethiopia
I'm sure that Ethiopa had some sort of cost-benefit analysis. But there seems to be a problem with the farmers that they displaced: they were not compensated enough for the defaulting of their land. This movement towards electricity for all might have some additional possibilities. I am not saying that their project was ill-planned, but I do have some ideas that could help the health of the nation.

The land between wind turbines is usually wasted. But Ethiopa could install a mild farming it grazing program so that fewer farmers or shepherds are displaced. This way, the food supply is less affected by the installment of the wind turbines. It would be a win-win situation for both the government and the people of Ethiopa.

Another possible idea that I have, if possible with their current or future resources, is to fill the space between the windmills with solar panels. This would be really pricey, but would increase their energy by millions of kilowatts! With more energy available, people would start to build communities that utilize this renewable energy. 

As I said before, I am not criticizing their project because I am a huge fan of their innovative step towards an improved nation economically and socially. This innovation is great. Ethiopa is using the metaphorical lemons that they recieve from nature and turning them into sweet lemonade. This was my view from my pier today. What do you see from yours?


Tuesday, October 22, 2013



Teachers tend to enjoy asking that question, as do students. This question can lead to a meaningful response or to a "because I said so" kind of answer. Either way, thought is provoked.

Yesterday in my English class, I found a website that had 50 incredible questions. These questions had no right answers, but provoked quite a deal of thought. Unlike a lot of questions asked in school, I actually answered them for pleasure rather than for a grade or stamp. I was able to sit back and respond to these questions without being judged in some way. It helped to free my mind a little. 

When I sit on my pier, I always ask myself questions. The questions in the link below reminded me of the thoughts that I can have when I'm in reflection mode. I invite you to sit on your pier and ask yourself some of these thought provoking questions or even come up with your own. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

More ice, fewer problems?

This year, it was reported that there was 5 million acres of ice in the Arctic Ocean after the summer, up from last years post-summer acreage of about 1 million. What does this mean?

People tend throw around statistics and hope to get people to think the way that they do. In the end, that strategy does not help the greatest good: we as a people. But this statistic was supported by a great article published by In this article, they explained how that this increase in ice did not disprove the idea that the globe was warming. But my question still remains. What does this mean?

Does this mean that polar bears and other Arctic creatures are going to survive  the summer months when the ice is melting? Does this mean we can drive more SUVs? How can we be sure that any evidence explains peoples' theories?
When I read articles about global warming, I generally trust those that predict rather than those that say that the environment is downright heating up. I try my best to find articles that display both sides of the issue. Just like in Othello, you can't trust everyone because you don't always know what angle people are working. Iago might just be behind that article you're reading, so be careful.

Does more ice mean fewer problems? Probably not. There is so much research conducted on this topic. It's not just the vast areas if ice that matter, it's also the thickness that is being measured. According to The Guardian, the problems related with Arctic and its ice are not receding. The thickness of the ice has actually gotten thinner which is not good. There are plenty of problems with the Arctic ice. But with further research and better environmental practices, hopefully we can help to slow the ice from melting and save the animals that inhabit those cold areas. That's what I saw from my pier today. What will you see from yours?


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Breaking Bad into Good

Bad ideas. Why can't they be good? What if bad ideas are good and good ideas are bad? Someone has to test out the bad ideas so as a society, we can know if they are really bad. Oh wait, there is a place where bad ideas are put to the test: it would be called Youtube.

Not only are people testing out their terrible ideas, they are also posting them to Youtube so others can laugh at their failures or find a way that they can do it themselves. The latter is what is interesting. People continue to do stupid things even though its tried and true that those actions are not of the intelligent nature. I get a kick out of their attempts of stupidity until they get seriously hurt. I imagine that there are times where a bad idea becomes an incredibly brilliant discovery. I do not believe I have witnessed such a circumstance in person. But someone had to be the first person to jump out of plane and land on their feet, safe and sound. I am not telling anyone to do idiotic things that will hurt them, but I am encouraging people to try out some bad ideas that could have great possibilities.

Merri Lightbody

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Pier at Night

Last night I went to the pier with my friend. (Shocking, right?) We were facing the north, looking at Long Beach and its surroundings. There were so many lights, whether in the ports or on the oceanic oil rigs off of the coast. But when we turned around to leave, the other side of the pier was pitch black. My friend was paranoid about the never-ending blackness while I was captivated by its untouched essence. In my eyes, the darkness of night is much more beautiful than a night lit up by the hands of humans. (Unless it is Christmas time and there are pretty, energy-efficient lights up). 

I am terrified of things that lurk in the dark, but somehow I feel that the dark is a beautifully, natural idea. Most people do not realize that the dark does not have to be so dark. City lights are just as pollutive as carbon dioxide. Light pollution hides the natural light of stars. That is one of the many reasons why cities disappoint me so. The best lights are those that are millions or even billions of miles away that are so bright that I can see them here on this earth. It's fascinating that those balls of immense, yet distant energy can shine through to my heart. City lights are only as good as their expenses. The night's stars are extraordinary in every way imaginable.

So when you walk out to the edge of your pier, make sure to notice the stars, if there are any. Make a wish upon a star and make a pledge to preserve their path to your soul. Don't let those city lights keep you from seeing the original night life.

Merri Lightbody