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Comment: Re:But what IS the point they're making? (Score 1) 243

Large cookie cutter subdivision homes developed by a single builder do have some of that stuff because it's more economical at scale - and they can create massive hollow boxes for pennies that blow over at the slightest breeze. There are subdivisions near my house that have some of this stuff - they have a lot of trouble selling because the houses just 'feel cheap'. Engineered trusses instead of joists, laminated or metal studs, etc. just give the house the feel that it's not entirely stable, even if it is all valid according to code.

Comment: Re:But what IS the point they're making? (Score 2) 243

The Chestnut was wiped out due to a fungal plague. Ash and Elm species are currently being devastated by the Ash Borer and Dutch Elm Disease, respectively. Walnut is being killed off by Thousand Cankers disease. I'm waiting for Oak and Maple to be wiped out due to some other exotic pest - perhaps Oak Wilt or some such.

Comment: Re:But what IS the point they're making? (Score 2) 243

New apartment buildings are built with concrete. New houses are built with wood and the expensive ones are clad with brick, at least, in my area.

Also, concrete production is responsible for a massive amount of greenhouse gasses - as lime is heated to produce cement, it gives off a lot of CO2, which is dumped into the atmosphere.

Comment: Re:But what IS the point they're making? (Score 4, Informative) 243

As someone who does carpentry and has helped build a couple houses over the past few years, this is patently false. You've been lied to by whatever environmentalist rag you subscribe to.

Most homes in the US are framed out of 2x4's cut from pine, floorboards are made of pine plywood, hardwood oak, cherry, and others are used for flooring. All of this comes from the timber industry, mostly from Canadian timber, but some more exotic stuff still comes from Brazil and Africa. My brother's floor is Brazilian cherry.

Some of that lumber is sourced from tree farms, but those tree farms are problematic as well - it takes years to grow them, and habitats establish themselves within those farms as they grow. The longer it takes to grow them, the longer it takes to offset losses in virgin forest. Hardwoods typically take over 30 years to be ready for harvest, longer if you want wider wood as you would need for 2x6 or 2x8 joists and furniture.

Comment: Re:But what IS the point they're making? (Score 0) 243

So what happens when solar panels become too environmentally impactful? What happens when the wind turbines are impacting migratory birds? What happens when the lithium mines and copper mines used to make those electric car batteries are deemed too toxic and environmentally hazardous? Why, we shut them all down! Who needs electricity? And while we're at it, all those trees we cut down to build houses are destroying habitats for all kinds of animals - so let's use different building materials - earthen materials strengthened with straw perhaps? Much more environmentally friendly. Next, concrete manufacturing is a top producer of greenhouse gasses. Let's stop making concrete - we don't need sewer pipes if we just have our waste water carried away by gravity in ditches, right? It worked for mankind for thousands of years!

So we ditch the electricity, ditch the timber, ditch the concrete, and what's left?

Mud huts and open sewers.

Earth

Earth In the Midst of Sixth Mass Extinction: the 'Anthropocene Defaunation' 243

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-blame-the-schools dept.
mspohr writes: A special issue of Science magazine devoted to 'Vanishing Fauna' publishes a series of articles about the man-caused extinction of species and the implications for ecosystems and the climate. Quoting: "During the Pleistocene epoch, only tens of thousands of years ago, our planet supported large, spectacular animals. Mammoths, terror birds, giant tortoises, and saber-toothed cats, as well as many less familiar species such as giant ground sloths (some of which reached 7 meters in height) and glyptodonts (which resembled car-sized armadillos), roamed freely. Since then, however, the number and diversity of animal species on Earth have consistently and steadily declined. Today we are left with a relatively depauperate fauna, and we continue to lose animal species to extinction rapidly. Although some debate persists, most of the evidence suggests that humans were responsible for extinction of this Pleistocene fauna, and we continue to drive animal extinctions today through the destruction of wild lands, consumption of animals as a resource or a luxury, and persecution of species we see as threats or competitors." Unfortunately, most of the detail is behind a paywall, but the summary should be enough to get the point across.

Comment: Re:What a silly title ... (Score 3, Informative) 115

by wiggles (#47517507) Attached to: 'Optical Fiber' Made Out of Thin Air

Not necessarily - there are lots of situations where it's not practical to run a cable. Secure connectivity between naval vessels is a prime example, others would be for use in the space program, or cheaper data communication between buildings in a campus. Residential broadband internet would be simpler - put an optical transceiver on the roof and point it at a tower - no more digging up the garden to provide fttp.

Comment: Re:Great... Instead of CO2 we get CO (Score 2) 133

Problem with that is, vegetation rots eventually, releasing methane - a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. Sure, you can flame it off, but then you're still releasing that captured CO2 back to the atmosphere. Only by increasing the forest footprint of the world, or causing massive algae blooms in the oceans can you really sequester CO2 in vegetation.

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