On MNN: Water heaters and Legionnaires' Disease

Flint water supply
© Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

A roundup of posts Lloyd Alter has written for sister site MNN.com about technology, boomers, and whatever.

Has energy-saving advice contributed to Legionnaires' disease in Flint?

For quite a few years I have been complaining that the American recommendations for setting water heater temperature are very different from the advice in Canada; In Canada, water heaters are supposed to be at 140°F to kill any possibility of Legionella pneumophila growing in the hot water tank; in the US the Department of Energy recommends 120°F, noting that "this level is still considered safe for the majority of the population. If you have a suppressed immune system or chronic respiratory disease, you may consider keeping your hot water tank at 140ºF." Now people are dying from Legionnaires Disease in Flint, Michigan and I wonder if low water heater temperatures isn't a contributing factor. This is not idle blogging, I think it is a serious issue. More on MNN: Has energy-saving advice contributed to Legionnaires' disease in Flint?

Super 8 is back, and it's not hipster retro nostalgia

Kodak super 8 cameras© Kodak One of the reasons I wanted to write for MNN was so that I could cover tech stories that don't really fit on TreeHugger, so I tried to cover the big CES tech show from afar. One of the most popular stories out of Las Vegas was the introduction of, wait for this, a Super 8 movie camera. I was all set to to a full-on rant about the stupidity of this in the digital age, how it was pandering to retro hipster nostalgia, but the more I read about it, the more I liked it. This is no toy. More on MNN: Super 8 is back, and it's not hipster retro nostalgia

Worrying about kitchen fans is exhausting

Wolf-subzerioWolf/ There is no way that range hood is going to anything. /Promo image This is really an update of a TreeHugger post of a few years ago about the kitchen exhaust hood, The most screwed-up, badly designed, inappropriately used appliance in your home. Because it is even worse than I thought then, now that we learn from engineer Robert Bean that cooking is pretty much as bad as smoking for interior air quality.
Since there are no environmental protection regulations governing indoor residential kitchens, your lungs, skin and digestive systems have become the de facto filter for a soufflé of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehydes, volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, fine and ultra fine particles and other pollutants associated with meal preparation.
More on MNN; warning, bad food puns ahead. Worrying about kitchen fans is exhausting

Robots and virtual reality may transform life for aging boomers

Robots© Farberware/ Robots will take care of us. As the huge baby boomer cohort ages, we will have robots, smart clothing, tracking devices to monitor our every move. And we will have Oculus Rift and other virtual reality devices that I suspect will be getting a real workout as we virtually meet and travel;
And indeed, I find the whole idea a bit depressing — aging boomers alone in big empty suburban, robotic homes, sitting in vibrating barcaloungers with their Oculus Rift headsets on.
More on MNN: Robots and virtual reality may transform life for aging boomers

Another thing to blame on the Millennials: Suburban office parks are dying because young people don't want to drive there

Office space© Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images True story: At a New Year’s Eve party, I was talking to a business exec running a tech company located in a suburban office building north of Toronto. He was complaining about the number of times he would interview a person who would say he wasn't crazy about taking the subway and then a bus all the way out to the ‘burbs every day. The exec got increasingly frustrated and at one point complained“So get a car! That’s what grown-ups do when they get jobs!” The candidate responded that he didn’t know how to drive, didn’t have a license, and would keep looking for a job that allowed him to use a bike or transit. This scenario has played out more than once, so the company is now looking for new office space downtown. The suburban office building in his business sector is functionally obsolete. More on MNN: Suburban office parks are dying because young people don't want to drive there

And if you are a glutton for punishment, here are a few more:
Where's that kitchen of the future we were promised?
Sensors in your seats: Good management or Big Brother?
Do we really need a digital detox?
Why the office of the future will be like a coffee shop
Magazines, like books, are making a comeback

Tags: MNN

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