A Guide To Carcass Disposal Processes

As if incineration was not a scary thought, here’s an even scarier method of waste disposal – carcass incineration. Up until recently I took no notice of this, even though I was well aware of it. However, I could not help but take an interest in the subject matter and surprisingly there really is not enough information about it.

What is carcass incineration? This quite literally means the incineration of animal carcasses. This is usually done in large industrial factories or part of animal crematoriums. This has actually been important method of disposing waste and increasing environmental concerns for many years. The incineration process is the key factor in the process of carcass disposal, as it is the main source of disposing contaminated or carcasses that maybe of a health hazard safely.

There are three different types of carcass incineration processes; open air carcass burning, fixed facility incineration and air curtain incineration. Open air carcass burning is an older form of carcass disposal, which is usually the burning of carcasses on a heap of combustible materials. This has been performed in the past specifically in 1967 and 2001 during the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. The combustible heaps are called pyres and they are usually happen in an open air field.

To perform an open air carcass incineration, one is required to obtain a permit as it may not be permitted in certain areas. These are quite common in America; however, some states do not allow open air burning. As this is done out in the open, there are strict rules that one must follow before performing this, such as making sure that it is performed at least 3 kilometres away from the public and informing local communities of the action prior to burning. However the negative side to this is the amount of ash build up left behind, therefore, a large clean-up team is needed to deal with the situation.

Fixed facility incineration is another more common form of incineration. This is more recognised as being held in a crematorium, large waste incineration plants, small carcass incinerators in veterinary colleges, power plants and farm incinerators (usually on site). Fixed facility incinerators were used mainly for removing BSE infected carcasses, as well as rendered meat and tallow from the cattle carcasses. This was a normal procedure in Japan, as they would immediately dispose of BSE infected carcasses through incineration.

The third process of carcass incineration is air curtain incineration, which is a relatively new process. This uses the principles of pushing air through a manifold, causing the incineration process to accelerate by six times the normal rate. The large fans are usually diesel powered engines, forcing a large velocity of air into an incineration trench pit or metal box. The air curtain fans can vary in size depending on the amount of carcasses used to burn. The process is fast and done in a controlled environment. Usually with this kind of incineration process all that is needed is wood, with the amount of wood-to-carcass ratio calculated for effective incineration.

The US has used this form of carcass incineration to dispose of carcasses which had been affected by chronic wasting diseases. The UK had used this method to reduce the outbreak of FMD in 2001. The air curtain equipment was made mobile so they can transported from place-to-place.

Studies have shown that open air incineration can cause pollution, which is why air curtain incineration and fixed facility incineration are used more often. This was mainly due to the release chemical toxins when using various fuels to burn the carcasses. They are also labour intensive and need to be performed when there is good weather. The advantages are they tend to be low cost and efficient.

Fixed facility incineration are expensive to run, but are not labour intensive, are biosecure and eradicate infected carcasses effectively. However, they can be a problem to operate and only some of the fixed facility incinerators can burn large volumes of carcasses. Air curtain incinerators are more mobile, can be used to dispose of multiple debris volumes and are environmentally friendly. However, they take up a lot of fuel and are not deemed safe for removing infected carcasses.

anna stenning is an expert on carcass incineration having seen the affects of bse on animals and the solution to removing affected animals.

A Vedic View Of Nature

There are a number of vedic books available on the market today that concentrate on the subject of nature and all of the little intricacies surrounding it. The environment in which each individual lives is part of nature surrounding that individual.

Have you ever taken the time to sit on your front porch and look around you at all of the fabulous ingredients that make up your environment? Have you ever wondered to yourself where all the beautiful buildings and structures came from or who was responsible for designing them? Have you every wondered what it actually took to design and create these marvelous buildings and structures? Where did the material come from? How did the individual that designed these incredible buildings and structures gain the knowledge to come up with such terrific designs?

All of these questions and many more are part of the vedic view of nature and the environment. These buildings and structures are not illusions, nor did they simply appear over night. In fact, serious thought and consideration has gone into every thing that makes up your environment. The brain intelligence of these designers were created through massive amounts of studying, investigating, and research, but who created the brain in these individuals or for that matter your own? Every thing within nature, whether it is buildings and structures or the brain power behind the individuals creating them came from the Creator.

Many individuals do not care for their environment the way they should. In fact, every day individuals are found throwing trash out of the windows of their vehicles and polluting the environment and nature. Companies are often found misusing the environment by dumping toxic materials into landfills and water ways. Our planet is given to us as a gift, but like the spoiled children that we are all we do is pollute it garbage and misuse the natural resources that have been given to us. The land of this planet and your environment is constantly being mistreated and ruining them in a variety of ways.

In the spring when flowers first begin to bloom and trees once again begin looking alive, it seems as if every thing is once again coming to life. The air is filled with the fragrance of a combination of aromas as they bloom giving the environment a beautiful enchantment that everyone seems to look forward to each year. Every thing that we need to continue to exist and live are freely given to us by the planet from the water we drink to the food we eat to all the resources needed to make every thing in our lives work correctly. So, should we not treat our environment and planet with the respect it deserves?

We should, but instead we, as a group, are the reason behind the green house effect that has caused the such an imbalance in our environment and nature. The constant change within the climate and the bouncing weather patterns are a result of the green house effect. This imbalance has caused our ecosystem to be turned upside down with an unusual amount of storms and natural disasters, which has devastated our environment and all the creatures living in it.

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Environmental Protection and Ecotourism

Local authorities in popular tourist destinations are beginning to take matters of environmental protection into their own hands. Governments and nonprofit organizations are banding together in the fight against pollution. Efforts to sustain tourism to favourite destinations without harmful effects to the local environment, as well as culture and social interactions, are the main focus for the most recent campaigns.

Mallorca Promotes Environmental Protection and Tourism

In order to maintain sustainable tourism in the Balearic Islands, Mallorca – often known as Majorca – is promoting a campaign that promotes environmental protection. Environment friendly tourism in heavily visited areas is important for the overall atmosphere of tourist areas.

Island tourist locations tend to take more abuse from tourism than most other areas. The new campaign, developed by Palma’s Tourism Institute, IMTUR, is called ‘Palma, Responsible Tourism.’ The World Tourism Organization also supports the initiative. The primary goal is to encourage tourists to be more environmentally responsible in Palma.

A few of the programme’s objectives are:

* To educate tourists and residents on water consumption.

* Promote Palma and Mallorca as a prime tourism destination that places emphasis on protecting the environment and the Mediterranean.

* Encourage environmentally safe tourism once tourists arrive.

* Decrease carbon levels and air pollution from vehicles.

* Increase energy awareness and introduce energy conservation practices.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, only examples of what tourists can expect from the ‘Palma, Responsible Tourism’ campaign. The programme includes incentives, activities, competitions and a cycling event available to all interested tourists. Palma Town Hall will donate 1 euro to the campaign for every tourist that takes part in activities related to the campaign.

Other Environment Friendly Vacation Locations

Palma’s campaign is new to the Balearic Islands. The general idea, however, is not new to other tourist destinations around the world. Whether it is referred to as ‘environment friendly tourism’ or ‘ecotourism’ the end result is the same.

The general idea is to introduce tourists to recycling and other activities that will help sustain tourism in their favourite destinations. In protecting their favorite vacation spots, tourists also help to protect neighbouring rivers, streams, wildlife and communities from potential harm caused by pollution.

Similar campaigns exist in the Caribbean. One development firm was quoted as saying sustainability is ‘finding the right balance between the need for development and the need for environmental protection.’

Overdevelopment of a destination can lead to a drastic downfall of the quality of vacations available to tourists. Locally owned shops and fisheries on the Caribbean Islands have joined the efforts to help combat the negative effects of mass tourism.

Resorts and hotels on Malta promote environment friendly tourism by setting a high standard for their guests and employees. Water and energy conservation are very high on the list, as are reuse and recycling.

Employees and guests are urged to turn off lights in rooms that aren’t being used and to ensure water has been used conservatively and turned off when not in use. Recycling bins are placed in hotel rooms, and guests are encouraged to use only environment friendly, recyclable containers.

Environment Friendly Hotels and Resorts

Each passing year sees more hotels and resorts join the fight against pollution. Environmental agencies have begun offering initiatives and awards to hotels and resorts that go the extra mile to protect the environment. The very environment they seek to protect is the one that draws more tourists to their location year after year.

Several U.S. ski resorts have earned awards from environmental protection agencies recognizing the work they put into protecting the environment and local forests. Their efforts include using environment friendly cleaning products and recyclable take-out boxes, cups and flatware, as well as encouraging reuse of linens and towels and composting kitchen scraps with wood chips for use in landscaping. In all, eight U.S. ski resorts were recognized by Clif Bar

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2012 And The End Of The World

Whatever you are planning for your future, whether it’s a new house, starting a family or even going on a diet – don’t bother. In four years the world will end and your plans will be ruined. This is the belief of thousands of people across the planet, preparing for the end of the world and death of mankind. So grab your diary and put this date in it – December 21st 2012.

The concept is gaining momentum as many religious texts, historical documents and even NASA have ‘predicted’ that there will be major changes to the Earth in the year 2012. And with the help of celebrity believers including the always-reliable Mel Gibson joining in, 2012 has become the talking point at dinner parties everywhere.

So, where has this cultural phenomenon come from and why do so many people believe? The widespread panic that accompanied the end of the millennium and the whole Y2K debacle seems to have shapeshifted into another end of the world scare. Why should we believe this one when Y2K believers became figures of fun to all those who had mocked them. Well, there are many reasons to listen as 2012 theorists can source ‘facts’ and ‘knowledge’ to support their claims.

The most referenced prediction comes from the Mayan Calendar as believers point to the completion of the B’ak’tun cycle as the signal that a new world order will be upon us. So the Mayans have apparently predicted that the end of the world will occur in 2012 and that the length of the lunar moon is 329.53020 days. They were only thirty seconds out with their lunar moon guess so basically it’s all over for us earthlings. Misinterpretation can make a big difference when translating ancient texts.

If you aren’t convinced yet then take a trip to Yellowstone National Park where the world’s biggest volcano lays dormant. Beneath this US tourist attraction, a volcano with a pattern of erupting every 650,000 years is expected to celebrate its special day with us. So when is the volcano’s anniversary, that’s right – 2012. It is understandable that the volcano is set to erupt in the near future but it would seem unrealistic that it would even wipe out a small section of the American population so are the believers clutching at straws with this one?

Moving on. So the Earth has two magnetic poles, north and south, that help protect the Earth’s surface from the devastating effects of the sun. Well, hold on to your hat, because the protection is about to be rescinded, the poles are shifting and we are all set for the worst case of sunburn in history. So, stock up on some factor 50 sunblock and grab the biggest hat you can find because it is about to get extremely hot.

Scientists have also announced that sunspot activity will reach a massive peak in 2012, resulting in severe solar storms and atmospheric changes. With this predicted sunspot expected to be up to 50 per cent stronger than previous ones, NASA has even began making preparations for the problems that await. But will these events make as big an impact on live as we know it as is suggested?

Cynics will say that all of these theories are based upon false translations and misinterpretations that manipulate people’s faith and need to believe. However ridiculous the claims may seem to non-believers, it is certainly going to be an interesting day when the clock strikes midnight and the 21st December 2012 is upon us.

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From Trees to Farms – The Evolution Of Humans

Primates are thought to have evolved alongside other placental mammals after the K-T extinction event. They would continue to divide into numerous species over the next several million years.

Around 30 million years ago monkeys had prehensile tails and eyes on the front of their head. Most are thought to have lived in Africa with some migrating to South America, possibly on a raft of vegetation. Five million years later primates would split into apes and monkeys, apes being notable for a lack of a tail.

These early primates spent a great deal of time living in trees, giving rise to hands and fingers to help grip onto the branches. It is thought that this lifestyle also lead to sight being the dominant sense in primates as opposed to smell as in other mammals. It is easy to see that better eyesight would have given a significant advantage when swinging through the trees. Shoulders in apes had a great deal of freedom of movement, as well as other adaptations such as wrists, a wide flat ribcage and shoulder blades on the back. Around seven million years ago the descendants of humans split from those of chimpanzees.

After a further four and a half million years of evolution the first species of the Homo family appeared, Homo habilis. Alongside homo habilis lived homo erectus, which would go on to evolve into homo sapiens. Around 700,000 years ago the last common ancestor of homo sapiens and the neanderthals was alive. The two species would remain separate but lived alongside each other for thousands of years until the neanderthals became extinct.

With the arrival of homo sapiens 250,000 years ago the planet would undergo extensive changes. The key factor that allowed humans to go on and dominate in the manner that they have is due to the large brain and greater mental capacity than other animals. Humans would discover the use of tools and language, therefore reaching a level of communication and cooperation far beyond other apes. The hands that had evolved to climb in trees would prove invaluable in creating tools and later art and writing. The use of tools would allow humans to hunt for meat as well as fish, and language and arts would lead to complex social groups eventually culminating in civilisation. Early tools were made from flint and stone, but later development would see tools made from bones and fragments of antlers.

At around 40-50,000 years ago humans would undergo rapid changes known as The Great Leap Forward. During this time finely made tools, fishing, trading, jewelry, art, music, games and burial of the dead were all developed. This time would also see the expansion of the human population out of Africa and into Europe, Asia and Australia. 12,000 years ago at the end of the most recent Ice Age humans had colonised much of the planet. As the ice receded human populations would continue to grow.

The next key to human development was the arrival of agriculture. While arising at different times in different areas it is thought to have first started around 10,000 years ago in the Middle East. By 2700 BCE agriculture had spread to India, Egypt, China and Mesoamerica. Irrigation, growth of crops and domestication of animals gave humans an early control over their surroundings. Religion also started appearing during this time.

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Electromagnetic Brain Stimulation for Addiction

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a non-invasive way of stimulating many different areas of the brain. Being addicted to drugs has a considerable toll on the individual. Now researchers are begining to use transcranial magnetic stimulation as a treatment for people who are addicted to various drugs. Depression and addiction often overlap on both the symptomatic and chemical level. States of both depression and addiction often share anhedonia the inability to experience pleasure. The reward related regions of the brain are dysregulated in both of these disorders, leaving patients demotivated and unable to really feel anything.

Not only is reward functioning dysfunctional in addiction, but executive functions become problematic. Executive functions include overall ability to properly function in society. These functions include your concentration and motivation. Using TMS, scientists may be able to improve a person’s executive functioning by activating frontal areas of the brain. Scientists may also be able to treat both addiction and depression by targeting similar reward related areas with TMS due to the overlap between the two disorders. One could imagine a future where non-invasive stimulation of reward related regions becomes the norm.

In a recent study, researchers investigated the efficacy of a single session of high frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation TMS to see if it could reduce cocaine craving in people addicted to cocaine. A total of six patients had 10 Hz TMS over both the left and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). The researchers found that stimulating the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex significantly reduced cocaine craving over time. This shows that in the future TMS may be increasingly used as a new treatment modality for a variety of different addictions. It may be able to improve depression symptoms as well among those people.

The company Brainsway is testing their new deep TMS device to target deeper brain areas that are related to the reward system. Researchers in the past have discovered that direct electrical stimulation of a brain area called the nucleus accumbens is rewarding. In both human and animal subjects, electrodes have actually been implanted directly within this brain region. However, this requires a person to undergo risky brain surgery. With deep TMS, psychiatrists may be able to electrically stimulate a person’s nucleus accumbens non-invasively. This would be a way to improve a person’s normal capacity for pleasure.

Using transcranial magnetic stimulation as a treatment for addiction brings up all sorts of fascinating questions. How do you calibrate the hedonic setpoint on a person so as to dole out their pleasure. Will people become addicted to getting their pleasure centers stimulated with electromagnetism. Will we have junkies who want to get their next transcranial magnetic stimulation fix. Or will scientists be able to increase the capacity for reward while reducing the propensity to seek out that reward excessively. These are not easy questions to answer but I think they are ones that we are going to have to face, sooner rather than later. However, TMS definitely shows a lot of promise for disorders of addiction.

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Establishing The Right Philosophical Foundation For Weight Loss

Let’s start by defining philosophy, and giving an analogy that might make its meaning clearer. Philosophy is the system of beliefs by which you live your life. It is the ‘set of rules’ in which you act by and judge each daily occurrence by.

Your philosophy is the sail that you set as you move through life. I have recently been introduced to sailing. I must admit I never thought sailing was so intricate. I figured you just put the sail up, the wind blew, and you moved around the lake steering the boat in the direction that you want.

Well, was I in for a shock! I didn’t realize that if your sails are not set precisely in regard to the wind direction you will not be moving in the direction you want to go. You will either be moving whichever way the wind is blowing, or if you are headed straight into the wind you will not be moving at all.

The wind also isn’t a constant. It speeds up, it slows down, and it continuously changes direction. There are puffs and gusts and swirls. The wind is like life’s daily happenings, and if you don’t have your sails set properly, you will not be headed toward your destination. You will simply be taken in whatever direction the winds of life are blowing.

Good sailors can go in the direction they choose because they know exactly how to set their sails, regardless of how the wind blows. You need to learn how to set the sails that will lead you to permanent weight loss and then set them.

Remember, permanent weight loss can only be achieved through careful application of a precisely defined system or curriculum. Careful application, in and of itself, requires that a specific philosophy be met. That is, your sails must be set in an exact manner if you are ever going to reach your destination.

Your entire life you have been establishing the philosophy by which you live. It started early in childhood with your parents giving you certain rules or guidelines for you to follow. If you followed the rules you were either rewarded (positive reinforcement for a behavior) or at least not punished (avoid a negative reinforcement for a behavior). This is basic psychology 101.

In this manner your parents essentially instilled the ‘set of rules’ (philosophy of life) that they abide by or at least what they think you should abide by. As you grow up and go through life you use these very powerful rules to judge and act on every daily event. These are the ‘habits’ by which you live your life.

The following observation by renowned psychologist William James sums up how influencial our everyday habits really are. “Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state.”

It does not end there, however. These rules are modified as you go along, albeit with much resistance. By the time you are reading this, the rules that you are using to set your sails are probably a confused concoction from parents, friends, bosses, siblings, aunts and uncles, co-workers, and significant other.

And unfortunately, many of the rules that have been instilled in you perhaps were not under the best of circumstances. The fact is that most of the rules in which you use to set your daily sails are rules that other people want you to live by. You need to establish rules that are going to set your sails that will guide you to the destination that you want to reach.

This is true no matter what your living situation, age, weight, or gender may be. If you want to look like the person, and be the person that you want to be, then you must change the ‘set of rules’ that you are living by.

In addition, your ‘set of rules’ also determine the expectations that you have for yourself. With the right ‘set of rules’ you will be able to create higher expectations and regularly meet them.

Your ‘set of rules’ creates your ‘frame of mind’ for which you act and judge everything by. Everything that occurs throughout your life, throughout each and every daily event is evaluated by you based on your ‘frame of mind’. The actions that you take are guided by your ‘frame of mind’. And your actions determine the circumstances of your life.

Do not underestimate this! It is true that your actions determine your life and your surroundings. Accept this fact and use it to bring more positive things into your life. Your ‘Set of Rules’ lead to your circumstances.

Here is a simple example of how living by a different ‘set of rules’ lead to different actions and different circumstances. I have two friends, Dan and Craig. Both are caring, intelligent, and successful guys. Craig, who introduced me to sailing, has a PhD in physics, and Dan’s advanced degree lies in Horticulture. They are hard workers and definitely assets to society.

They do, however, have a very different ‘set of rules’ when it comes to their bodies. Dan is lean. Craig is overweight. When I look at their ‘set of rules’ which directs their actions, it is very apparent why this is so. Dan chooses to jog at least 3 times / week and mix in push ups and sit ups every morning. Craig does not. I hear Dan complain when he goes several days without jogging. His complaining comes from the pain and disappointed he feels when he breaks the ‘set of rules’ in which he lives by.

Craig does not have these rules and therefore feels no pain by not exercising, because he is breaking none of his rules. For lunch, Dan eats a turkey sandwich and yogurt. Craig often chooses to eat a greasy cheeseburger, fries, and soft drink. I do not hear Craig complaining about eating such unhealthy food because he is not breaking any of his rules when he eats this way.

Craig is a best friend of mine, and I am happy to write that he is beginning to see the truth of this law. He is changing his ‘set of rules’ that govern eating and exercise, and he is seeing positive results!

The 2 Rules of Rules states:
1. When you break your rules you will feel the pain that functions to deter you from breaking your rules in the future.

2. When you follow your rules you will feel the pleasure that reinforces you to follow your rules in the future.

You follow the rules that you have agreed to live by regardless if they were set consciously by you or not. So the first thing, if you are going to change your life, is to look at your rules that you live by. You can’t begin to make positive changes until you are fully aware of the negatives that need to be replaced.

Most people have never looked at the rules in which they judge everything by. What you find can be very surprising, scary, and perhaps disappointing, but undoubtedly it will be positively therapeutic.

After you uncover the current ‘set of rules’ by which you live your life, you must then demand of yourself to change the rules that are bringing you undesirable circumstances. You need to put your new rules into your subconscious so they become your dominating thoughts. Your dominating thoughts are those that you judge things by and ultimately take action on.

Be Patient. Achieving permanent weight loss is a process of change. However, this is the process that will change your life.

professor jay snaric has been teaching college nutrition and health for 13 years. he has an earned graduate degree from nyu where he mastered human physiology. as a service to the community he offers a free comprehensive diet plan. visit secretloss.com

Neuromorphic Chips to Replace Brain Cells

Is society moving towards a future where people will be able to replace their biological neurons with computer chips or artificial neurons? Some researchers think that having implantable neural prostheses may be just around the corner. This currently science fiction scenario may actually not be that far off. There has been a continuing development of neural prostheses that are implantable in the brain. This type of implant will signal in a totally new era in bioengineering and also neuroscience research. Researchers have increasinglly made better intracranial implants of devices that are able to communicate with the brain. They can be used for a variety of brain disorders in order to restore either motor, sensory or cognitive functions.

In the future, neuromorphic chips may eventually serve as a replacement for biological neurons. There are quite a few researchers who are working on this. Neuromorphic basically refers to a computer chip that mimics biological neurons such as the firing patterns and connectivity. Neuromorphic chips may be able to function as brain implants for a variety of different people who have brain disorders such as brain damage or stroke. A neuromorphic chip could in theory replace the brain matter that is missing as a result of brain damage.

What about those people who only want to replace their brain matter with something that is more durable? In the future, scientists may eventually create neuron sized robots or maybe even smaller nanorobots that will enable the replacement of biological neurons. The futurist Ray Kurzweil has discussed this possiblity for some time. These nano sized robots may eventually be able to precisely position themselves inside a person’s brain. The nano sized robot could replace all of the relevant synaptic connections and then function as a total replacement for the biological neuron. This could be replicated for every single neuron in the brain until the whole brain had been replaced by non-biological neurons or a neuromorphic type chip.

Having a neuromorphic brain brings up quite a few interesting questions. One is how much of a neuron do we actually need to simulate in a chip to get a good representation? There may be a lot of the information inside a real neuron that may actually be quite superfluous. However scientists really don’t know enough why an aggregate amount of atoms inside a person’s brain can sustain a unitary conscious experience. It is really not that clear how much information inside the neuron is really needed to functionally replicate all of its processes.

Will a neuromorphic chip be able to replicate our current experience of consciousness? Consciousness is actually a really complex emergent function of several aspects of brain processes at multiple levels. It is currently at all not clear if consciousness can really be replicated merely by having a model of all of the computational capacity in the brain via a bunch of artificial neurons and also synaptic connections.

What would be the actual benefits of having a brain replaced by artificial neurons? Well, for one thing this would be a much more durable substrate that would likely be much less susceptible to damage. Currently our biological neurons are fairly fragile. They often die off over the course of our lifetimes. So having these artificial neurons might be beneficial for extreme life extension as your brain would be able to last quite a bit longer. Overall, though, there might be some enormous benefits to replacing your biological neurons with a functional artificial chip equivalent.

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Turned Off By Carbon Offsets

I’ve heard just about every argument under the sun when discussing the greenhouse gas offsets model with friends and colleagues. After hearing these arguments for the first time, I often wondered whether the comments were justified or whether they were just a pile of excuses for not making the voluntary step (in the context of travel). For the purposes of this article, “carbon offsets” and “greenhouse gas offsets” are used interchangeably. Although carbon dioxide is considered an important greenhouse gas (GHG), it is not the only GHG that is offset through the numerous programs available worldwide.

Those that are not as familiar with all forms of carbon offsetting often link the concept immediately to reforestation or tree planting which can produce a carbon sink and help an individual, group or organization achieve a ‘climate neutral’ status. While this is a common form of carbon offsetting, there are various other types of useful offset projects. This is important because a lot of controversy surrounding offsets seems to have its roots in reforestation project criticism.

Although many organizations and individuals invest in GHG offsets irrespective of travel (e.g. Offsetting industrial operations), a significant driver for the birth of this model is the pollution caused by our local and international travel. While road transportation obviously amounts to a large portion of world CO2 emissions, the intensity (impact per passenger km) and diversity of air travel stands out as well. In addition to altering atmospheric concentrations of CO2, ozone and methane, airplane emissions lead to the formation of contrails while emitting water vapor, sulphur oxides, nitric oxides, nitrogen dioxide and soot8.

Although there seems to be sufficient evidence linking our travels (particularly by car and plane) to global warming and atmospheric degradation, many travellers are hesitant to take that next step to offset their emissions while away from home. Yes, not everyone feels strongly enough about the environment to pay more for a trip voluntarily…but among those that do, I believe this unwillingness has its roots with both the public and the “carbon neutral” companies. I feel both must put forth more effort to keep GHG offsets transparent and useful. When it comes to investing in carbon or greenhouse gas offsets, the onus is on you as the consumer to ensure you are contributing to a true and efficient offset program. By doing your research and investing only in companies that have taken all the appropriate steps, you will help to add more credibility to certification programs and spur organizations to improve their business and operate more responsibly.

Foundations such as the Gold Standard makes one’s decision much easier as they work to alleviate the major concerns surrounding this environmental economic model and provide a label to carbon offsetting projects. To ease your research efforts, independent websites simplify the process by allowing you access to a useful database of GHG offset companies with an unbiased rating included. These companies have been emerging fast from out of the woodwork so it is important to know who is legit and who is not – most importantly, knowing where your investment is going.

After doing more research myself, I am convinced that the process of purchasing carbon/greenhouse gas offsets can be fair and rewarding, and also of lasting benefit to the environment. I will also agree with what David Suzuki said when I saw him on the “If You Were Prime Minister Tour” – that at least in the short term, as we more towards cleaner technologies and methods, carbon offsets help to fill the gap. A certain amount of trust is ultimately put on to the offset company and also on a 3rd party to ensure the project is controlled and streamlined, but with the maturity of certification and carbon offset organizations, many purchasers believe this is a non-issue.

In conclusion, I’m not going to start naming celebrities and musicians who swear by carbon offsets while on tour – I’ll spare you the lame angle. Whether you have already supported offset projects or are thinking about it in the future, even Pearl Jam knows to do their homework before jumping into it blind. Oops, that one slipped.

james nash is a climate scientist with greatest planet (www.greatestplanet.org). greatest planet is a non-profit environmental organization specialising in carbon offset investments.

james nash is solely responsible for the contents of this article.

Could Time Travel Be Possible?

Just recently I watched a trailer for the upcoming Terminator film, Terminator 4: The Future Begins. The series is one of my favourite film franchises and I’m looking forward to the new film, even in spite of the disappointing Terminator 3. Part of the reason that the films are among my favourites are the ways in which they deal with time travel and the paradoxes that it could potentially cause.

The film tells a story where in the near future artificial intelligence has taken over the planet and sends cyborg assassins back in time in an attempt to kill the future leader of the human resistance. At the end of the first film the robot terminator is crushed and destroyed, the only remains being the forearm and part of the microprocessor ‘brain’. The irony here is that the only way that the machines are eventually created is by using the parts left behind from the destroyed one.

It creates an interesting paradox in that the terminators would never have been invented if they hadn’t come back in time, so in theory the machines came into being by simply appearing out of thin air. The film dealt with the fate of John Conner, leader of the human resistance and whether his actions were predetermined or the result of a choice. In the end nothing he did could stop the inevitable and the machines started the war. The series raises a large number of interesting questions about time travel and the effects it may have.

This leads me onto the subject of time travel. Is it possible? It is a subject that has captured the collective imagination and inspired countless works of science fiction. As well as inspiring works of fiction it is a subject that has been the topic of serious scientific investigation and thought. Many notable physicists including Albert Einstein and Steven Hawking have done significant research into the prospects of the possibility of time travel. In this article I will have a look at some of the more common theories of how time travel may be possible and the effects it may have on the universe.

In fiction time travel has been presented in a huge number of different ways. The most common use is that of a time machine that can propel people backwards and forwards in time, or in some cases only in one direction. Popular examples include the DeLorean from the Back to the Future trilogy and the Tardis from the Doctor Who television series. In reality such devices are impossible but provide a romantic vision of how one might travel through time.

However despite these ideas of time travel it has been proven that time travel backwards in time is for the most part impossible. Time travel into the future, however is seen as being arguably possible. There are considerable (ie virtually impossible) boundaries to overcome but the possibility within the laws of physics is there for time travel into the future.

Theoretical time travel into the future would work on the basis of time dilation. If one was to travel away from the Earth at close to the speed of light before turning round and returning at the same speed then considerably more time would have passed for the people on Earth than those on the spacecraft. This would allow a form of travel into the future where people could arrive back at Earth several thousand years after they left even though they’ve only felt like they’ve been flying for a few years.

This is explained in Einstein’s theory of special relativity. A common way to relate this to time travel is with the twin paradox. The twin paradox states that if someone travels away from Earth at light speed and returns several years later they will find that their identical twin has aged considerably more than they have. The maths and physics behind why this happens is extremely complex and most likely far beyond the scope of this article, but it has been proven to happen. Experiments have even taken place on Earth that have proved the theory to be correct. The National Physical Laboratory in the UK flew clocks to Washington DC and back to London and found the results to be as Einstein had predicted.

Another factor that is able to cause time dilation is extreme gravitational forces. It has been calculated under general relativity that if a person was able to live inside a sphere with a diameter of five metres and the mass of Jupiter that their time would move four times slower than of the outside world. It has been proven in scientific experiments that clocks will appear to tick slower the closer they are to a strong gravitational pull. A person will see that a clock at ground level will tick more slowly than one up a tower.

With the knowledge of how time dilation works is it just a matter of time until we’re able to build a craft that can travel sufficient distances at a high enough speed that we see some more dramatic effects than a few nanoseconds? Imagine what kind of effects a craft that travelled at near light speed to a black hole and used the gravitational pull to slingshot back home would see. The combined dilation from the journey and the gravity of a black hole should see them arrive back on Earth a very, very long time after they’ve left.

The only way that we will be able to experience any kind of time travel is through this method, or by travelling through a wormhole.

A wormhole is a theoretical object that can link two distant points in space via a tunnel. The possibility of wormholes is driven by Einstein’s theory that objects curve space and time. Imagine space as a bed sheet that is pulled tight, when you drop a ball onto it the sheet will curve and the ball will roll to the middle. It has been theorised that if two objects with sufficient mass were to depress space in this way enough that they might meet in the middle and form a wormhole between the two points. Travel through these points would allow us to cross vast distances of space in a fraction of the time it would normally take to get there.

However if we were able to move and manipulate the mouths of the wormholes then it has been thought of that they may offer a way to travel into the past. From inside a wormhole the two mouths will always remain synchronised. That is to say if a clock reads 3000 on one end, it will also read 3000 on the other end. If we were able to bring two mouths near each other and then accelerate one away at relativistic velocities before bringing it back then the mouth that had been on the journey would have aged less. Let’s say the clock on the stationary mouth reads 3050 and the mouth that has been accelerated reads 3000. If you were to enter the accelerated mouth then both ends of the wormhole would read 3000 from inside. In this respect if you’re in 3050 with the stationary mouth and you enter the accelerated mouth you will exit in the year 3000, a trip back in time.

While theoretically possible this relies on technology that is far beyond our current understanding. However it does answer one of Steven Hawking’s queries on travel into the past. He asked that if time travel were possible then why haven’t we seen any tourists from the future? Well by using wormholes it would be impossible to travel back to a point before they were discovered and accessed.

Travel back in time would also raise the well known question of the Grandfather Paradox. This is the name given to a basic cause and effect paradox that could be raised from time travel into the past. For example, imagine you were to travel back in time far enough to a point before your father was born and kill your grandfather. This would mean that you would never be conceived and would never exist. If you never exist then how do you go back in time to kill your grandfather? Logic would say that you can’t and so that means your grandfather would live and you would go back in time and kill him, which of course we know you can’t. It is this example that is often used when saying that time travel into the past is impossible.

There is a school of thought though that you would be simply unable to change anything if you went back in time. Say you went to try and kill your grandfather. You would encounter a continuous stream of bad luck and you wouldn’t be able to do it, your gun would jam, you would miss, your shot wouldn’t be fatal, you would die, etc.

The idea of time travel into the past certainly raises an enormous number of paradoxes and questions on cause and effect, none of which are answered easily. While time travel into the future remains an exciting extreme possibility I do not think we will ever see time travel into the past, and certainly not at 88mph in a DeLorean.

patrick is an expert research and travel consultant. his current interest is in gatwick ncp flightpath parking, gatwick maple manor parking.