The BP Oil Spill In Your Home Town

I always have a hard time trying to comprehend the size of an area on a map.  When I was around 8 years old my teacher asked me to tell the class about the vacation I had just returned from in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico.  She asked me to show them on a big wall map where I was.  I pointed to a small town on the gulf side of Mexico, pretty much a random guess, first mistake given that Puerta Vallarta is on the Pacific coast.  The teacher didn’t call me on the error, which then gave me more confidence to continue.  I went on to brag about how we had driven around the bay to see different parts, pointing to the entire Gulf of Mexico.  My teacher was now even more impressed.  She asked me how long it took to drive, when I replied a couple of hours she quickly sent me back to my desk.  One geography lesson for the day totally ruined.

That story relates to how it is a hard to imagine the size of the disaster that is currently going on in the Gulf of Mexico.  Well thanks to Andy Lintner, you can now see what the oil spill would cover if it happened in your home town.  Here is the oil spill map for Ottawa, Canada.  It really is shocking to see how much area is covered in oil.

Hat tip to the Freakonomics Blog.

ecoEnergy Retrofit Homes Program Cancelled

Yesterday, it was quietly announced that the program ecoEnergy Retrofit  Homes program has been canceled.  This is really too bad as the program was very popular, to the point were the government was forced to add more money each year to cover all the grants.  I have completed one project under the program, a geothermal system, and currently we are in the process of a home renovation that will qualify for some grant money.  It seems a shame that the Government of Canada would cancel the program as it seemed to be achieving two goals, the obvious environmental impact of lowering a homes environmental impact and also encouraging people to put money back into their homes.

IESO Wind Tracker

The IESO, Independent Electricity System Operator, is mandated with managing the demand and supply of Ontario’s open electricity market. Their site has an impressive amount of historical and real time data. For example, if you want to see what the current makeup of electricity feeding into the grid is right now, they can show you with a nice little pie chart on their homepage. Another is the IESO Wind Power Map which shows the current wind energy being supplied onto the grid.