Cool - Celebrating Simplicity (& Seven Wonders Book)

Caveat. This is a meandering post. It all began when Tipster Lee S. proposed we do a post on swamp coolers and suggested we look here for an explanation on how they work. I’m not an experienced swamp cooler user, so decided it best not to fudge a formal review (please follow Lee’s provided links above though). But what immediately stuck me was the simplicity inherent in the idea and how the concept resembles the earliest refrigerator used in Australia. The Coolgardie Safe also harnessed the evaporation of water to transfer heat and create a cooling effect. It became a cultural icon and is on display at the Powerhouse Museum. The Coolgardie, in turn, reminded me of that gorgeous ...... little book, Seven Wonders: Everyday Things for a Healthier Planet, put out by the US NorthWest Environment Watch. One of its slim chapters, is devoted to the humble ceiling fan, which author John C Ryan suggests can make a room feel about 9 degrees F (5oC) cooler, with only 10% of the electricity normally sucked up by an air conditioner. Often we lazily look to technology to provide answers to our woes, but it need not always be the sort that has umpteen knobs, buttons and flashing lights. There is also 'appropriate technology'. Why use a mallet on a mosquito when a fly swat will do the job as easily and more elegantly. Simple can rule over complex. (Read this excerpt chapter from Seven Wonders on the glorious simplicity of the most efficient form of transport ever invented - the bicycle.)

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