Recycle No. 7

30 04 2008

No, this is not another article to encourage you to recycle. It is about the signs you see on the left and how it affects your health. We Malaysians hardly ever recycle our waste and plastics and know even less about how these products are recycled. The signs you see on the left are two variations of the seven Resin I.D Codes (1 through 7) used in identifying the type of plastic products which are also recyclable.

These codes are normally found on the bottom of containers and are normally embossed. Meaning they are molded into the design of the container and raised from the surface. Resin ID codes are used to help identify different plastics for recycling, but they do not provide guidance on the safe or intended use of a product and should not be used for this purpose. And herein lies the danger. These codes identify not only the type of plastics but the resin found in them, and it was recently found that a resin used in Recyclable 7 plastics is not as benign as it was once thought to be. This resin is known as “Bisphenol A” or BP A. Here is an excerpt from an article I read.

Depending on whom you talk to, BPA is either perfectly safe or a dangerous health risk. The plastics industry says it is harmless, but a growing number of scientists are concluding, from some animal tests, that exposure to BPA in the womb raises the risk of certain cancers, hampers fertility and could contribute to childhood behavioral problems such as hyperactivity.

Plastic water and baby bottles, food and beverage can linings and dental sealants are the most commonly encountered uses of this chemical. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stay put. BPA has been found to leach from bottles into babies’ milk or formula; it migrates from can liners into foods and soda and from epoxy resin-lined vats into wine; and it is found in the mouths of people who’ve recently had their teeth sealed. Ninety-five percent of Americans were found to have the chemical in their urine in a 2004 biomonitoring study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

After reading this and more articles on Bisphenol A I went around looking at plastic water bottles found in my house. And I found 2 items that carry the ominous sign. One was a milk bottle used by my niece and the other was a water bottle which I always keep beside me on my table! You can see the picture of the bottle below.

water Bottle

As you can see the recycle #7 sign is clearly visible on the bottom of my drinking bottle. The letters “PC” found below the sign indicates that the bottle is made of polycarbonate. For more information on this subject you can Google the word “bisphenol A”. And for those who wish to learn more about the resin I.D codes, you can go to the link provided below. (p.s I have yet to learn how to link a word in my article to the URL)

http://www.americanchemistry.com/s_plastics/bin.asp?CID=1102&DID=4645&DOC=FILE.PDF





Crosswind Testing with a 747

28 04 2008

Very tempting but guys don’t attempt this at work. hahaha! I have actually seen the aftermath of “Vehicle meets Jetblast” soon after I joined Malaysia Airlines. It WAS a company van. Notice I used the word was. The driver had attempted to drive past a 737-200 carrying out an engine ground run (EGR). If I remember well, the van overturned a few times before coming to a stop on it’s side. One of the occupants broke his wrist. The van, well, have a look at this video and you can picture what it would have looked like.

Remember this the next time you drive past a high crosswind area of a highway or find yourself (inadvertantly I hope) driving behind a large aircraft about to take off! hahaha! Honestly speaking, in my rush to attend to an aircraft, I have on a few occasions narrowly missed running into an aircraft or it’s tow tug! Not funny but it could happen.





Static State

25 04 2008

One day after I blogged about copper theft, some jokers decided that they needed some steel bolts and stole some from a 132kV power transmission tower (or “Pylons” as we Malaysians call them). This brought one of the towers down resulting in a loss of electrical power to 90% of the areas in Sabah. Imagine nearly a whole State brought to a standstill by a single act of theft!

This picture below (taken from the Star website) Shows the downed tower.

The next picture shows a similiar tower in all it’s majesty. For your information the electrical transmission lines that these towers support are NOT insulated. Insulated cables would be too heavy to support . These lines are insulated from the towers by by ceramic insulators similiar to the one in the picture below.

If you looked the the picture of the tower above, you can see a bigger version of these insulators hanging down from the arms of these pylons to which are attached the high tension cables. Typical Phase voltages in Malaysia is 132kV! If you ever see one of these cables lying on the ground, do not even approach it. An electrical cable may “snake” as it is repelled from a nearby object by it’s electrical arc.

Ok, back to the theft. As in my previous blog, the theft of metal such as copper and steel is reaching preposterous levels. These thieves should be charged with more than just theft. Although hospitals have back up generators, without a further back up, surgeons will have no choice but to postpone major surgeries. patients are inconvenienced and most smaller clinics have to close. For this reason alone, the charges brought against these thieves should be nothing less then the endangerment to the public.





Precious metals

23 04 2008

No, I am not referring to Silver, Gold or  even Platinum. I am talking about copper! Yes copper is the new rare metal. The price of copper has risen fourfold in the last 4 years! What is that to you in real terms? If you have  a bank account that attracts 10% interest on savings, you would double your money every 7 years. It will take another 7 years to quadruple your initial savings. So, if you had used that money to (legally) buy copper 4 years ago, you can now sell it for 4 times what you paid for it. What difference is that to silver and gold you say? Well, firstly, copper is cheap compared to silver and gold, at the end of 2003 it was selling for about USD2000 per tonne. That’s about RM 8000. Last year, copper was selling  for about  USD 7000 /tonne. And today it’s trading on the owrld market for about USD8600/tonne. For an outlay of just under RM8000 you would get back RM28000 even after factoring in the weaker US dollar! That’s a cool 20K profit.

Now Gold is not too shabby. It traded at USD400/ounce in January 2004 and is now USD800/ounce on the world markets. If you had the same RM8000 in 2004 and bought gold. You’ve only doubled your investment. And at USD 400/ounce, it would take a lot of dough to get yourself even a pound (16 ounces) of the stuff.

Gold, like silver and platinum are rare metals, that is why it is so expensive. It is estimated that in our entire history, man has only mined a total of 25 cubic metres of gold. Copper on the other hand is much more common. Electrical wires contain 75% copper and they are everywhere, in street lights, transmission lines, transformers and almost any gadget that uses electricity. With it’s price at an all time high, this is why copper thieves have crop up not just in our country but in the most advanced countries of the world.

Did you know that copper is also biostatic? That means bacteria does not grow on its surface. This is why is it used in air condition tubing, hot water pipes, cooking utensils and even doorknobs.





The Wisdom of a Child

23 04 2008

I have reached an age where I can recognise a younger generation seperate from mine. If I am careful with my words and action, I might be able to impart some of my knowledge and wisdom to this generation of young people. But 16 years ago a 12 year old child turned the tables on a group of folks much older than her. Severn Cullis-Suzuki from the United States funded her own journey to attend the Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro to talk to representatives of countries from around the world about saving the environment. Here was a child of a dozen years that managed to impart her wisdom onto a group of people fully a generation older than hers. She had captured the undivided attention of these law makers with her impassioned plea to save the earth for her generation…. a generation of people who are younger than mine. 

 

Incidentally, did you realise that there are only two, just 2 places in this world where there is a Rain Forest? South America is still home to the world’s largest rain forest, The Amazon and the island of Borneo has the only other one which is also the oldest. These forests are one of the few “carbon banks” this planet is left with and we are letting them being destroyed by greedy businesses.

 

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about her:

Severn Cullis-Suzuki (born 1979) is an environmental activist, speaker, television host and author. Born to writer Tara Elizabeth Cullis and Canadian geneticist and environmental activist David Suzuki, Cullis-Suzuki received a B.Sc. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University in 2002. She has spoken around the world about environmental issues, urging listeners to define their values, act with the future in mind, and take individual responsibility.

 

In 1992, at the age of 12, Cullis-Suzuki raised money with members of ECO, the Environmental Childrens Organization (a group she founded) to attend the Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro. Along with group members Michelle Quigg, Vanessa Suttie, and Morgan Geisler, Severn presented environmental issues from a youth perspective at the Summit, where she received a standing ovation for a speech to the delegates. The group also addressed delegates at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).

Here is a child who could tell us, “If you do not know how to fix it…don’t go around breaking it”. The wisdom of her words from 16 years ago still ring true. But in the years since then we have gone on to break so much more of this planet we call home. Our environment is fast approaching the point of no return. I have no answers to all our problems. I only hope I can be part of the solution if only to spread the message thru my own words.





Disappearing car door

22 04 2008

Except for the Gull Wing doors, almost all car (lorries, trucks and busses) share the same door design and structure as that of an early 20th century vehicle. The doors are either hinged in front or the rear and a handle on the opposite end. As a side note, rearwards opening doors were the rage in the early days of the automobile. My former instructor used to call them “bird-scoop” doors! Chassis and engine technology have come a long way since then but doors essentially remained the same.

Now these guys have come up with something aDOORing hahahaha! And ingenious too.

If you still wish to read more about them you can go to http://www.disappearing -car-door.com.





Into the Mystic

18 04 2008

This is my first post in my first blog. This blog serves no other purpose but to articulate what goes on in my mind and what my heart feels. It will also be a tool for me to convey my current interests and post my (better) pictures.