Tiger endangerment: how bad is it and what can be done about it

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Did you know that the largest cat species has a total length of about 3.38m that is 11.1 ft and weighs as much as 388.7 kg which translates to 857 lb? If you did not, now you know. Panther Tigris better known as the Tiger is the largest cat in the world. Many people will confuse it for a cheetah but remember that tigers feature a pattern of dark vertical stripes and they also have reddish- orange fur and are lighter on the underside. These solitary yet social territorial animals are a true sight to behold.

Why are they endangered

Like man special and beautiful animals in the world, the Tiger is also an endangered animal facing the risk of becoming extinct in the next few years if something is not done fast. Tigers have historically been indigenous across Asian countries, Turkey from the west and to the eastern coast of Russia. The fact that this animal was indigenous in areas where the population is dense and it hunts and eats prey like people created a human- tiger conflict that has seen it become endangered as people try to find land for agriculture and skin to make fashionable clothes. Basically, like many animals, this too is on the verge of extinction because people are selfish and just want to make money at the expense of anything they can get their hands on.

Tigers are hunted for their pelts, meat and some body parts that are used for folk medicine. In some cases tigers died from the destruction of the forest which they live and thus luck a stable habitat. Lack of food is also a great problem for them, and one that continues to heighten the conflict between this precious animal and humans. Humans, especially in India, have continuously hunted deer and other wild cattle that have served as food for the tiger for years. Having no food, they may die from starvation or be killed as they try to feed from domestic cattle reared by humans or even feed on the humans themselves.

How serious is it, really?

Up until the 20th century, there were nine subspecies of tigers which all totaled over 100, 000 tigers in the whole world. The giants Siberian that weighed 660 pounds and Caspian and the tiny tiger that weighed 200 pounds called the Balinese tiger have since become extinct, it is also on debate if the south china tigers still exists and no one has seen one in years. This means there are about 5 or 6 tiger subspecies left in the world and only a total of 4,500 tigers: possibly less. While all the remaining subspecies are considered endangered, two are critically endangered.

What can you do to help these animals?

The fact that most of our grandchildren will hear about tigers the way we heard about dinosaurs, as just stories of past civilizations is extremely sad. The beauty this animals bring to the world and the stability the help maintain in the wild should not be taken for granted. If anything we should all strive to save this animal. One way to do this is to learn as much about tigers as possible. After all knowledge is power. Because the passing of information today is very easy- just a click of a button- you should be an ambassador of the wild. Inform others and tell a friend to tell a friend. In the end the circle of information and guilt will lead people into finding ways to stop poachers when they see them.

Another way is to donate money towards conservation organization. This is a great way of ensuring that it is not just the tigers that are saved, but other animals too. Not all of us can protect tigers in our back yards, helping those who can will literary be saving nature.

Another great way to show support? Do not buy any tiger products at all. This will make it harder for poachers to find he market for this items and thus they will find other trades to invest in. true, tiger products are beautiful and sometimes one just cannot help wearing tiger printed fur during winter but think about it, the only difference between you and that poacher is that they physically shed the blood.

The Beauty of Biodiesel Cars

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With the prices of oil shooting up every moment and the sources or oil and gas depleting at a rate that is alarming, there is a need for firms to look for alternative sources of energy. The use of conventional or traditional oils in cars has been highly associated with environmental degradation. As a result, environmental conservatives have been campaigning to have alternative sources of energy that are environment-friendly and that will cause or release less or no emissions into the environment.

Developing and developed countries have opted to look for alternative sources of energy from farm crops as well as other renewable organic sources so as to help save the environment from being polluted further. The commonly used form of these energies is the vegetable oils and biodiesel fuels that can get used to power a diesel engine of a car.

Biodiesel oil is the oil that gets produced using a chemical process called transesterification. The process involves converting oils as well as fats of the natural origin into fatty acid methyl esters. The chemical reaction between the natural oils and alcohol then gets followed by purification and these oils can be got from nearly all the naturally occurring vegetable fat or oil. Biodiesel oils are meant for use in any standard diesel engines and are distinct from the vegetable as well as waste oils mainly used to have converted diesel engines fueled. It should get noted that these biodiesel oils can get used alone or blended with petrodiesel. Biodiesel oils should not be confused to mean or refer to vegetable oils as the two are different.

Biodiesel cars can, therefore, be said to refer to those cars that use the biodiesel oils in their engine. However, not all cars can fit into the biodiesel cars as any car that got made before 1993 must get some modifications so as to use biodiesel oils. These cars will need to have their rubber fuel lines probably replaced, but all the cars made after 1993 can use the biodiesel oil without any modifications. Biodiesel cars have the advantage of using biodiesel oils as these oils can get used in the existing diesel engines and you won’t experience any negative impacts on the operating performance. The heavyweight cars can use biodiesel oil as an alternative, and it won’t require any storage modifications or special injection.

Biodiesel cars must have conventional compression-ignition engines, and you can’t use biodiesel oil if your car runs on a gasoline engine. With your biodiesel cars, you can easily use diesel fuel and biodiesel oil interchangeably and also have them blended. Biodiesel cars also have the advantage of having many diesel deposits cleared that might have accumulated in the fuel tank of the car when you use biodiesel as it is a solvent. Although this might cause an individual to experience some initial fuel filter clogging, with consistency use of the biodiesel oils, you won’t have those challenges anymore. These cars are said to have an extended lifespan of their engines. The use of biodiesel oils becomes highly recommended as they have a higher lubricating properties that lower the wear and tear of vital engine parts.

As most firms go green and people propagating for a safer environment, environmental conservatives highly recommend the use of biodiesel cars. The use of biodiesel cars that use biodiesel rather than petrodiesel significantly lowers carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbons in the air. These two emissions pollute the environment and their combination with sulfur oxides contribute to acidic rain. With the use of biodiesel fuels, we can easily have a pollution-free environment. Cars that run on biodiesel fuels are highly loved as they pollute the environment less compared to those that use regular diesel and other forms of energy. These cars have proved to provide the best balance of performance, fuel economy, emissions as well as conveniences.

In the making of the biodiesel oils, the oils always get filtered so as to remove water before getting mixed with alcohol. The water acts as a contaminant that might have a negative effect on the car’s engine. The problem associated with water may include the following. The water might reduce the heat of fuel combustion that might cause smoke leading to pollution of the environment. Water might also cause corrosion of the fuel system components of the car and, therefore, lowering their lifespan. Water also causes pitting in the pistons. With the use of biodiesel fuels, all these are eliminated for the oils don’t contain water components.

Importance of Energy Efficient Windows

Energy Efficient Windows

Our homes get light, warmth and ventilation through the windows, but, they can actually make your home less energy efficient. According to data collected in the energy conservation program of the Environmental Protection Agency, an average American spends above two thousand dollars every year on energy bills and about more than half of it is spent on the heating and cooling. These costs can be diminished to a great extend by using high performance and energy efficient doors and windows. These doors and windows will not only help to cut down the utility bills, but, will also make the home more comfortable.

Energy performance ratings of windows

During the winter seasons, windows emit heat out of the homes and allow that heat to come indoors during the summer. These movements of heat are tracked by two factors, i.e., the U-Factor and SHGC. The U-Factor describes the coefficient of solar heat loss and helps to determine the amount of heat that is distributed across the materials. Ideally, the U-Factor should be 0.3 or less. The SHGC is the exact opposite of the U-Factor and it describes the coefficient of the solar heat gain. The air leakage coefficient is another measurement, which indicates how much air will pass through in both of the directions and the number lies between 0 and 1. This air movement plays a major role in reducing the effects of air conditioning and heating. So, if the value of the coefficient gets lower, then the window is working more efficiently.

How to make the windows more energy efficient?

Energy efficiency of the existing window can be improved to a great extend by treating the windows, using storm windows, caulking and weatherstripping. If you treat your windows or use coverings, that can diminish the loss of heat during the winter seasons and the holding of the heat in the summer. The storm windows help to reduce the air leakage and makes the room more comfortable. The caulking is used for repairing the stationary cracks or gaps, which has a width of less than one inch. The weatherstripping is used for operable windows.

Installation of energy efficient windows

If the windows have become really old and inefficient, then it will be more cost effective to swap them with energy efficient windows. In order to select the new windows you will first have to determine what energy performance rating you need based on the weather and the design of the house. Efficient windows are specially essential for the passive solar home designs. You will require to select and size glass, so that, your home can retain maximum heat during the winter season and lose it in the summer season. If you are staying in a heat-dominated climate, you will require shading devices to prevent excessive heat gain. The low-emissivity window glazing, helps to control the gain and loss of solar heat. In the cooling climates, you will specially need windows with low SHGCs, which are highly effective in reducing the cooling loads.

The windows should always be installed, as per the manufacturer’s recommendations and should be air-sealed to perform correctly.  Many times the energy efficiency of the window is rendered useless if the windows are not installed correctly. That’s why it is very important to use a trustworthy installer do install your windows for you rather than try and take on the job yourself. If you need replacement windows in California you should use the best window replacement network.

The Ins and Outs of the Volkswagen Scandal

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In times that the planet is becoming quite uneasy owing to the impact that global warming is having. News of auto companies trying to beat the emission policies are bound to rattle quite a number of feathers. Volkswagen has felt the heat and the wrath of such doing after it was revealed that the company’s diesel vehicles did not meet the diesel emission cap. What this simply means is that the company diesel models are emitting more carbon dioxide than the law allows. As expected, there was a public outcry and plenty of media coverage as the company was forced to recall hundreds of thousands of vehicles in the U.S alone. So what really was the Volkswagen scandal?

 

What is emission compatibility?

To understand the depth of VWs doing, one has to understand what a emission caps are and how they affect the performance of the car. Owing to the rising temperatures on the planet, one of the ways to curb the growing pollution would be to make cleaner cars that have a lower carbon footprint. To achieve, this companies would have their cars undergo emission tests to test just how clean their cars are and if they get a clean bill of health, they can release the car into the market.

 

How diesel cars reduce pollution. 

Now that you understand how emission control works, it is time you understood how diesel cars are able to reduce their carbon dioxide emission and perhaps the sole reason why Volkswagen was caught pants down.

To meet the set pollution levels, cars that use diesel are usually fitted with a tank that contains a chemical called Urea. The sole purpose of this compound is to turn the fumes that result from the combustion of fuel into a harmless gas (nitrogen) and water. The downside to this is that engine performance is affected because reducing emissions means that fuel efficiency also takes a fall. Now it’s easier to see how VW could have been lured into trying to beat the system in order to retain their performance.

 

What exactly did VW do?

Well, here comes the cream of the pie. According to publicized reports and later a confirmation by the company, instead of using the Urea fitted tanks, the company used ‘Defeat devices.’ These were fitted with a software that allowed the cars to cheat during the emission test making them appear cleaner than they were.

However, VWs software allowed the car to beat the test in the lab but once the car hit the road, the emissions control would be switched off. As a result, the car pumps nitrogen oxide which is a pollutant into the air and what was worse is the fact that the levels were up to 40 times the legal limit. It is a complete case of profit over conscience.

The worse part is that the software was not controlled by the driver. Instead, it new when it was being tested and hence switched emissions control on and off depending on the scenario. Thanks to the algorithms used on the software, using the steering patterns, atmospheric pressure and the use of the engine, it was able to tell when it was testing time.

It is estimated that the car manufacturing giant had been installing the so called ‘Defeat device’ in its cars for at least six years before the scandal was unearthed. The company has also gone ahead to admit that over 11 million vehicles had the cheating software and some of the models affected include the Audi, VW vans, Skoda and SEAT. In the U.K a further 1.2 million cars are under scrutiny over the same device.

 

What do you do if your car is affected?

Big question lingering in every VW or affected model owner’s mind is, “What do I do with my car?” Luckily, the answer is not as complicated as the whole scandal seems to be. If your car is affected, Volkswagen will get in touch with you and perform any repairs that are needed on the car free of charge. The only downside to this is the fact that you will have a car that does not perform as you had been told when making the purchase.

It is without a doubt that the management of the company was preview to the fitting of such devices and as much as they might want to have the public believe otherwise, it is important for them to understand that their actions might have weakened an already ailing planet. Even worse, the reputation of their brand might have been hit but only time will tell how badly this was.

What is Global Warming?

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For all of the politics and debate over global warming, it’s hard to sometimes separate the facts from the fiction. Fortunately, in the case of what has become known as global warming, it doesn’t take much more than just walking outside your doors and/or reading the newspapers to make the problem very real. Simply watching television will prove the real problems of record heat, melting ice at the poles, rising sea levels and the effect these have on everyone. What might not be so clear is the fact that these events are the result of a phenomenon known as the “greenhouse effect,” which is a gradual warming of the earth’s surface brought on gases such as carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels or deforestation.

 

What is the Evidence?

Scientific understanding of global warming has increased dramatically over the years. Beginning in the mid- to-late 1800s, scientists have kept records of the mean surface temperature of the earth. The results of these studies have shown that until the 1950s, the surface temperature of the earth has remained relatively stable. After that time, however, the gradual and steady increase of the earth’s surface temperature has been unprecedented.

 

What is Global Warming?

It is interesting to note that although the overall effect of global warming is the same all over the earth, the causes of these changes vary from region to region. For example, although the greenhouse effect is just as critical in North America as it is in the subtropics, the problem in the former can be traced to the burning of fossil fuels. By contrast, in the subtropics, the expansion of deserts caused by several factors have caused just as serious of problems.

 

Global Warming and the Future

Scientists have presented vast amounts of evidence proving the validity of their data, but for a very real look at the effects of global warming, one needs only to watch news reports of these changes. For example, a recent news report showed an emaciated polar bear traipsing over the vanishing ice packs in search of food that is no longer available. This confirms the theory that global warming is expected to be the greatest in the arctic areas, with continuing problems with retreating glaciers, permafrost and sea ice. Scientists also expect other changes that include more extreme weather events, heat waves, droughts, heavier than usual rainfall, heavier snowfall, acidification of oceans, and extinction of species of animals as well as plant life, and shifting temperature regimes. Scientists also predict humans will also feel the effects of global warming as food security becomes a problem due to decreasing crop yields and abandonment of populated areas as a result of flooding.

 

A Human Response

As serious as these problems are predicted to become, scientists do offer some hope, but it will require considerable work and sacrifice by populations around the world. Prime among these sacrifices will be the mitigation of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels. Further, any response will need to be accompanied by an adaptation to the effects of not only this mitigation, but also dealing with the aftermath. For this reason, systems will need to be created that are resilient to the effects of the changing atmosphere as well as future climate engineering.

 

Worldwide Response

Fortunately, the evidence that has been presented by scientists so far has been convincing enough to members of the world community to convince them to agree to the need for change. For this reason, most countries have become parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is working to prevent serious damage due to climate change. These steps will put in place both the technologies and programs that are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as to help adapt to the effects of global warming. Most significantly members of this convention have agreed to work towards deep cuts in emissions, whatever their source. Most scientists believe that with this one action alone, future global warming would be limited to levels under pre-industrial eras.

 

Too Little Too Late?

The most recent scientific studies released by NASA indicate that although there have been improvements in man-made carbon dioxide levels, those levels have continued to increase above those seen over hundreds of years. As much work as has been done over the years, the gases released by fossil fuels into the atmosphere remains and are not being absorbed by vegetation and/or oceans to an extent that would prove to be beneficial.