[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

How about prepaid gas as a consumer service?

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Remember Chrysler’s “Let’s Refuel America” program from a couple of months ago? GM new strategy to attract new buyers was tapping into the current gas price sentiment well. I remember thinking what if this “lock the gas price” was available to all consumers?

Thats exactly what is getting a lot of traction now!!!

MyGallons.com offers prepaid gas for everyone essentially locking the price at market rate for as much gallons as you can buy. The concept is bound to get sign ups as the prices move north by a few cents every week. The service is enabled via a debit that is apparently accepted at 95% of gas stations across the US. If predictions are right, we might see $7 a gallon soon (may seem ridiculous but I would have given the same look a decade ago if someone had said gas would be $4 a gallon, when it was around 80 cents!)

But I got to think its probably not the best business to be in selling sort of gas futures in retail. The firm claims it has sophisticated hedging strategy, but we will have to wait and watch, if it survives the market pressures.

If you want to know where all the money you are shedding on your gas is going? look no further than below!

Dubai The World
Why bother to take dubai to rest of the world, think inside out, lets bring The World to dubai!!! You got crazy dreams? We got the money in Dubai to make them real!

So your money is not going waste, right?

japanese watermelons

Friday, July 4th, 2008

On our grocery shopping this afternoon, we picked up a American (read big!) watermelon today. Obviously, due to its sheer size, no carry bag would hold up so it was on its own at the trunk. It rolled all over to the point that on one of the stops, we almost thought somebody crashed on the rear of our car! Well, not really…the watermelon was playing around the trunk!

Coincidentally, a few minutes ago, my sister, who lives in Japan, forwards an email with an article about the clever square watermelons harvested by Japanese farmers. I remember reading about this a long time ago, but what was different in this forward email was the additional “inferences” about lessons for life from the creative spirit espoused by the Japanese farmers and scientists!

The main lesson is Japanese’s ability to constantly push the limits, taking nothing for granted (never leave an assumption unquestioned!). As far as I can see, this is the core of their success! The rest of their behaviors are a consequence of that fundamental thinking. Another example is Japan’s ability to look for new ways to find energy sources decades ago and its now a new booming export industry for Japan. I am sure their collaborative society will lead to more such innovations before we run out of options in the US!!!

As this graph shows, Japan’s oil consumption remains fairly stable since 1975, and lets not talk about U.S. consumption!

[source : washingtonpost]

Read a more detailed blog about square watermelons here.

Big Picture TV

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

BigPicture TV

I was looking through some of the online short film contests and came across Big Picture TV. It is a neat project conceived and executed by Marcus Morell. Simply put, he has reached out to some of the leading thinkers and advocates working on environmental and social causes to share their insights. It is a worthy cause and demonstrates the power of new media and how it is leveraged to connect the movers to the masses. The website is neat and elegant though I was having problems with playing the videos.

Most of the people speaking are unfamiliar to me. Not surprising, I haven’t heard of many of them, given the momentum and breadth of support that environmental movement has and of course, my lack of awareness too!. I guess what matters is their insights and ideas more than who it is from. If you have heard of Cradle to Cradle, you should listen to Bill McDonough. I have read that book through my brothers recommendation and his ideas are fascinating and much needed. You should also check out his speech at the TED conference.

Kudos to Big Picture TV for bringing ideas into action! It goes into my favorites!

If you want to DONATE for Tidal Wave Relief

Monday, December 27th, 2004

Its heartbreaking to see and hear the news of the dead from the affected asian nations. On my part, I have collected (infact collecting & updating frequently) this information about the relief agencies that are working on aid/relief work. Anyone willing to donate financially can contact these agencies.

Lets remeber that the top five areas to be immediately addressed are Drinking Water, Food, Sanitation, Shelter and Health. None of the affected nations is well equipped with resources or money for any/all of this.

[Rediff points to a list of aid/relief organizations accepting donations for India] – [added 12/29]

1. Association for India’s Development ( AID ). You can DONATE with AID (working with Tamilnadu Science Forum) . [Thanks to badri and his commenters]

2. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. You can DONATE with Red Cross from here.

3. ICNA Relief-Helping Hand (a division of the Islamic Circle of North America). NPR recommended this organization. You can DONATE with ICNA from here. [added 12/28]

4. Oxfam . You can DONATE with Oxfam here.

5. Christian Aid . Their website isnt updated with the information about this current relief work, but I have read in 3 different news articles that their volunteers are working on this. You can DONATE from here.

6. World Vision International. Unfortunately, their website, as of this writing, isnt giving any news/updates on this tsunami relief work yet, but I heard this morning on this news iteam and this news item in the National Public Radio, someone from this organization on site in SriLanka explaining about the relief work they are doing there. You can DONATE with WVI from here.

7. CARE aid agency / Care Australia. You can DONATE with them here. CARE is an international relief agency, but I could only find the Australian arm responding to this catastrohe immediately, there is also an Indian Arm of CARE, whose website is still catching up.

8. Sustainable Development and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS) – India You can DONATE with SEEDS via different channels, more info here. [This morning, I used ICICI money2India to directly transfer my donation into their Standard Chartered account]

9. Save the Children. You can donate via 1-800-SAVETHE[CHILDREN]

10. Children’s Christian Fund. You can DONATE with CCF from here.
Tsunami relief blog The SEA-EAT [information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts]. [added 12/28. Thanks to Lazygeek, Kribs].

TsunamiVictims.org. Collect latest contact details about the relief activities and contact persons/organizations in local areas in South India Region. [added 12/28. Thanks to Kribs]

AlertNet keeps relief professionals and us up-to-date on this worst humanitarian crises.

Relief Web – Latest information on the relief activities.

Other Indian Relief Organizations that are still catching up on the aid work :

1. Action India

2. Disaster Mitigation Institute, India

3. RedR India

4. Indian EarthQuake Safety Initiative. Apparently, the folks arent waking up even after the quake!

[I will keep this updated as I find/hear more. I am sure every Dollar or Pound or Rupee is worth more than just repenting for it]

Two earth conscious events

Monday, December 6th, 2004

While most of us are busy with holiday rejoice, two earth conscious events are happening across the world. One, the Energy Globe 2004 Awards winners were unveiled last week in EU (with UN) without much media attention here in US. Two, the UN Climate Conference, the 10th in the annual series, is underway today in Argentina.

The climate conference has gained more attention than the former for quite a few reasons, the most important of which is Russia signing the kyoto treaty as US vehemently opposes it. Simply put, Kyoto treaty legally binds advanced nations to cut carbon dioxide emissions to certain low levels within the next 10 years. Everyone including the 100+ countries that sign the treaty agree that it is an ambitious goal, though achievable. Contrary to what I thought, India is NOT in the treaty yet.

The other event, Energy Globe Awards, apparently is a globally popular environmental award. Innovative initiatives that efficiently use earth’s resources are awarded each year in five categories: earth, energy, water, air and youth. It goes without saying that the dire need for such innovation is in developing nations in Asia, Africa and South America where sparce resources are barraged by exploding population. As so the majority of the submissions for these awards come from those nations. Its heartening to see “Necessasity is the mother of Invention” put into work by some committed souls in developing nations. What is needed now is a flexible economic and social platform for such innovative ideas to reach the global market and global population that is sufferning. With UN behind this awards, there is hope that the effots of those creative minds go past the awards into action.

A special award to SODIS is a simple and affordable solution for every household to improve the microbiological quality of drinking water by using solar radiation to destroy pathogenic microorganisms [that use UV radiation in sun to kill germs]. I am not an expert to qualify this solution, but the fact that it comes from the swiss energy research institute and that it has been tested for past few years for its effectiveness speaks to itself. Read more here at Swiss website to learn how it works.

For the winners in the other categories, check the Earth Globe Awards web site here.