Next: Science is now so complex that we can no longer ask What? We can now only wonder Why?

This Blog used to be about the question: What is Science?
Now, it asks: What is Happiness?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Van's Roadhouse (on the road to Tahrir)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Here Comes The Sun!

Real change is driven by those who do not have to change. In Kenya we are sort of half way  between the two. Many power downs and water failures means either a big diesel generator as backup opportunity to explore alternative energy solutions. Despite the need, Africa is generally way behind northern European sensibilities iro green living and thus its forests and resources are being decimated by the need for charcoal, firewood, potable water and other basic necessities for life. There are more sustainable ways around this, but these often require huge cultural changes. In our suburb we are the only family who uses composting rather than burning waste organic material. Our aim with this and more videos is to inspire those around us to join the global green revolution, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it can, in addition, be cheaper. Our Carolina Solar Cooker is the first of our 'Save Money, Save the Planet' projects and it is already working for us. The core of our evening meals are now cooked daily using only sunshine and laughter.
We are however very early in our development path, hence the Mark 1 Carolina Cooker. Why Carolina? My best childhood adventures and memories are from wondrous days spent on my Grandad's bushveld farm. there was no electricity and one of those toilets that are 100 yards to far in winter and 100 yards too close in summer. But it was during these seemingly endless school vacations that I developed a deep love for being anywhere where there was no laid on power. So, it is little wonder that I yearn for the smell of paraffin (kerosene) and the gentle chugga-chugga of a Lister water pump. Today, I live much of the time in Kenya, which is experiencing a dramatic economic growth rate. Services like water and power are stressed to their limits and, Kenya, like many other developing nations is cautiously embracing democracy. Traditional tribal culture sometimes dovetails and other times clashes with the strident advances of Western and increasingly, Oriental influences. This plays out in our own homes and gardens. In the evenings, the leafy suburbs of Nairobi have a gentle scent of pepper in the air. This is from the ubiquitous burning in never ending smouldering piles, of organic refuse.
Steven Maeba was looking after the property that we now rent, in Westlands, Nairobi. He turned the native bush on our ample property into a productive garden, which he now maintains with a passion only held by those who grew up in the nurturing arms of an agrarian economy. A remarkable chap and friend by all accounts, Steve soon started a conversation with me around his interests in Energy, Nutrition and the soil. His interest in my technical alternative energy based solutions to our local lack of regular power, he expressed a desire to learn these skills. Well, there is nothing like suddenly having a buddy to have fun with on a project...expecially when he is a trained chef!
This is the first of our videos aimed at popularizing 'saving money while you save the world.'

We look forward to getting a conversation going with some of you who are now reading this. Thanks for your interest! budgie and Steve (and Tuscany!)