Well Chinese New Year has come and gone. My wife went up north to Qingdao to celebrate Chinese New Year with her family - I stayed in Shanghai.
Every Chinese New Year eve at midnight the city explodes with so many fireworks its like a war zone. Last year I took this video of the fireworks outside my apartment complex in Shanghai. The fireworks went on like this for about an hour and then slowly dwindled off.
Our cat doesn't like fireworks one bit and hides every Chinese New Year but this year the cat wasn't bothered at all. I was quite surprised, there were hardly any fireworks at all this year. Usually the fireworks start about 9pm and reach their "war zone like" peak at midnight for about an hour and then die down. This year nothing really happened until just before midnight, which was a non-event compared to last year, and after 15~20 minutes...phfft, that's it.
Last night my wife told me in Qingdao it was the same - very few fireworks compared to last year. I suggested that the global recession is to blame and this morning she confirmed that in the Chinese news fireworks are down 50% from last year. If the Chinese news reports 50% then it must be at least 75% or more.
The global recession has indeed arrived in China. Mooo
The lack of Chinese New Year fireworks may be because Chinese are saving them up for the first week in February (5th?) for a big bang.
Simple, one only needs to scare the "Chinese Wealth God" with big bang fireworks so you can be prosperous.
Fireworks might be good for China, but America on the other hand, might need something a bit stronger, like large cases of C-4… (awesome)
For a westerner It would be difficult to find a more disgusting cuisine than Traditional Mainland Chinese Cuisine.
What you see at a (Hong Kong style) Chinese restaurant in your country might be unrecognisable to a common Mainland Chinese person. When you travel to China more often you will visit the larger more common cities that foreigners frequent like Beijing and Shanghai. However what you don't see is what common mainland Chinese people eat which is Traditional Chinese Cuisine that is all about one's "Qi".
South China is well known in China as having the most disgusting cuisine even to many Chinese from the North. There is a Chinese saying "If you can kill it you can eat it". A traveller to South China might notice that there aren't any birds...in fact there is hardly any wild life at all as they have all been eaten! Wild animals are considered by Chinese as the most tasty and best for one's health. Sideline: Many Chinese who live abroad are happy for the abundant wild life that is not available in China anymore, like turtles, frogs, birds, snakes...small furry animals...anything...they all go into the pot. My wife knows many Chinese in the US who forage when ever they can.
Three Scream Mice is an interesting dish. Live new born mice are served squirming on the plate. The first scream is when one is picked up by the chop sticks. The second scream is when it is dipped into the sauce. The third and final scream is when they are popped into the mouth.
Live monkey brains - that's old hat - pardon the pun.
Nothing is sacred - even Panda and other endangered species are sought after and available for those who can afford it and more importantly to who has the right contacts to get it. Wealthy business people and of course local government officials (who are the most corrupt).
Human milk, it is good for babies so it must mean it is good for one's health as Chinese think. In old China, Emperors and other noble people had wet nurses available for all their lives - why bother with cups, comes in its own container. New China means that human milk is more readily available. There are restaurants in China which specialise in dishes made from human milk. I was disappointed there aren't any cafes of this kind..."Excuse me, waitress? I need more milk for my coffee, mind if I have a squeeze or two?" ;)
Speaking of specialised Chinese restaurants a common one all over China serves animal penises (on a bun?). The idea with this is that the more penises you eat the better it is for yours. It was never explained to me what happens if women do this...do they grow one? (Make a note to find out where Hillary Clinton eats...)
To this end there are many other things you can eat and drink which are good for your "little brother" as Chinese call it. There is "Three Penis Wine" - not made from penises but it is good for the "little brother" which is why it refers to three of them.
Human placentas are available fresh or dried (even in supermarkets in smaller cities). If its good for a baby then eating it means that you will stay young - that's the idea at least.
Eating dogs and cats - well that's quite normal for many Chinese. Dogs are mostly popular in the North of China while cats are popular down south. Horses or donkeys are enjoyed most everywhere. KFH?
One might find vacuum packed dog meat (no heating ready to eat) as a snack in many locations - one being Xuzhou airport, in North Jiangsu Province (Where CATERPILLAR has a joint venture).
Eating little birds are popular everywhere - even while it is still in the egg. The head is especially crunchy!
On and on it goes - if you can think of it - there is a Chinese dish for it.
All meat like dogs, cats, furry animals, endangered or you name it is considered by Chinese as "HOT" or "COOL" for the body and according to one's "Qi" will depend on which should be eaten. (Gee whiz!)
Traditional Chinese dishes are all about "alternative nutrition" and is "homoeopathic" to boot - notch that one up! ;)
So next time someone goes "Ewwwww they're eating cat...!!" just tell them to go ahead and tuck in, that stir fried tabby with human milk sauce is good for your "Qi"!
We all have been told that the humble incandescent bulb is bad and the Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) is good.
Well it all has to do with how much energy is required to make light and a CFL is more energy efficient than the light bulb. So less energy, means less pollution and that's the reasoning.
That is the "dumbed down" argument fed to us from the government and the lighting industry so we would switch to CFLs with little thinking required on our part.
In doing the switch from common light bulbs to CFLs do we trade one form of pollution for another one and will we have to do a complete switch over again later?
In short, Yes.
Mercury is necessary for any fluorescent lamp whether it is the familiar fluorescent tube lamp or CFL. Batteries containing mercury were banned as they pollute landfills hence our environment and people just didn't dispose or recycle them properly enough to protect the environment. Keep that last bit in mind.
The argument that the use of CFLs are safe has been their proper disposal and handling. Keep this also in mind - when a common light bulb burns out or breaks just clean it up and toss it out - easy.
The proper way to handle a broken CFL
Open the windows and let the room air out for 15 to 30 minutes, then remove as much material as possible without a vacuum cleaner. Using disposable gloves, scoop the glass onto a piece of cardboard and wipe the area with a wet paper towel. For smaller pieces of glass and powder, use duct tape to pull up the fragments and wash your hands after cleaning up the debris.
HAZMAT suits would seem to be a plus in this situation! Check ebay and get the family to suit up!
Reach for the disposable gloves, cardboard, duct tape and paper towels...? Not only do they have a "carbon footprint" which must be factored in but they are also contaminated and will need processing before recycling, so what of that energy? Isn't that wasted?
What of the energy required to take the broken CFL to the recycling centre? Are we meant to walk or ride a bike or should we have a Hazardous waste disposal unit in our house - and what of the energy to create that? its plastic after all...
What if its winter or summer and in the process of "airing out the room for 15~30 minutes" we have to then re-heat or cool the room later...what about that energy? Isn't that energy wasted? Best be careful with CFLs - think C4.
Light bulbs are looking better...
The proper method to dispose a CFL
Check if your local recycling centre has services available for CFL disposal by calling directly, or such retail giants such as Home Depot and Wal-Mart, IKEA and so on accept them. It is illegal to dispose of them in the rubbish in many countries
So now how do we get the burned out CFLs to Home Depot and Wal-Mart, IKEA and so on - they won't come to you so hop in the car and drive over there! What about that energy? Isn't that wasted? Oh - we are meant to take them with us next time we shop there...sounds like they also like getting us in the door. Better be careful transporting them, you don't want them to break - so for you and your family's safety as well as the environment you better bring your HAZMAT gear along as well.
What about China, India and other developing countries? Don't even think for a second that there are any special handling or disposal methods for CFLs - they just get tossed in with all the other rubbish - millions of them.
Seems that batteries containing mercury were so much easier to handle and dispose of. In volume batteries are so much less than lights to worry about for the average family. Additionally, batteries don't break like a CFL requiring HAZMAT like procedures for clean up. Nevertheless enough people still could not be bothered to dispose of them properly that so they were banned - outright - end of story.
Another concern is the demand for mercury - it's mined. Enter the CFL - a new industry with millions of CFLs produced per day - all needing mercury. You might say the mercury is recycled - think back to China and India...CFLs not recycled. Good, after a while mercury could be mined from the land fills.
Seems when we "un-dumb" the argument for the wholesale switching from the common light bulb (even the banning of same) to CFLs there are many things that haven't been thought out well enough - by us, the consumer.
So are we now looking through the crystal ball to a time when we will have to yet again switch from environment polluting CFLs to yet another form of lighting?
All hail, we welcome the LED* overlords!
*Even more polluting!
Instead of putting the cart in front of the horse - non polluting energy is the solution.