Consistently smaller

If you’re anything like me then you’ll hand-craft your code to give you a fine-grained control over how things are done. Like a lot of geeks, I’m a bit of a code-snooper and the OCD side of me feels more than a little violated when I see the butt-ugly source code that is invariably generated by drag-and-drop WYSIWYG HTML editors.

I’m afraid I can’t remember who originally mooted this idea on Twitter a good while back: does having your HTML tag attributes in a consistent order give your webpage a smaller file size after it’s been compressed?

After thinking about it and playing around with some examples myself the other day I can confirm that it’s true. I’ve also found some corroboration from Google.

Be still, my beating heart

For me, the nadir of health and cooking occurred in 2009 when deep fried butter was on the menu at the Texas State Fair. This year, deep frying Guinness (other fried alcohol is available) appears to be a major attraction.

I used to think that the food seen at thisiswhyyourefat.com was a coronary waiting to happen and then the other week I saw this gem from Paula Deen (who apparently is no stranger to deep frying butter): deep fried cheesecake

I’m beginning to think that if you stop moving for too long in the Southern states of the USA that someone will deep fry you.

Recycle less

Yes, you read that correctly: I said recycle less.

At first glance you’d think that I’d turned my back on my usual green practices but you’d be wrong. When you start thinking about things throughout their lifecycle you start to realise that recycling should be your last resort.

I suggest expanding the basic green three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recyle) to a full mantra along the lines of:

Initially reduce your consumption and then reduce what you throw away; reuse what you can then – and only then – should you recycle.

Producing recycled paper requires about 60 percent of the energy used to make paper from virgin wood pulp1 – but nevertheless, recycling still requires energy. On average, every family in the UK uses around 330 glass bottles and jars each year2. Recycling one bottle can save enough energy to power your television for 20 minutes but instead, why not try reusing bottles and jars to store homemade jams, pickles, preserves, beers or wines?

1 EPA, 2008
2 British Glass

Debt

I’m not using the word “debt” in the traditional monetary sense here but in terms of global capacity. On Saturday we, as a planet, used up all of the resources that the Earth can produce and renew in one year. Saturday the 21st of August, 2010 is day 233 of the Gregorian calendar: we’re as near as damn it exactly two-thirds of the way through the year.

Or, to put it another way, we have half the time from between New Years Day 2010 and today to survive on absolutely nothing if we want to balance our books. Big ask isn’t it? Obviously an impossible one and a situation that is disastrously untenable.

The day that marks our passing into ecological debt is happening earlier each year.

This report paints a bleak picture:

The result is collapsing fisheries, diminishing forest cover, depletion of fresh water systems, and the build up of pollution and waste, which creates problems like global climate change.

But that was 2005 and there are now 400 million more bodies on the planet who all, ideally, need to be housed, clothed and fed.

I’m not advocating direct governmental intervention by way of putting sterliants in the water supply or anything like that for example but a scheme like Michael E. Arth’s Birth Credits certainly sounds like a viable option to me.