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I like the idea, but wouldnt the harvesting, production and transportation of sawdust or other insulating material, as well as trasportation and infrastructure costs of distributing all that ice cost far more than the small amount of electricity my freezer uses?

Oh and to be clear, I mean environmental cost.

In the 1800's, sawdust was a "free" byproduct of the lumber industry, which had been merely disposing of it. Perhaps it's still available on that basis. Perhaps some other insulator is. The spirit of "no impact" is to reduce transportation (and I suppose infrastructure) costs by obtaining food (and ice) locally. Thus, Beavan's 250 mile rule. The spirit of no impact also seems to include a certain amount of decentralization of production of food (and ice), so perhaps the "economies of large-scale production" will give way (if we pursue the experiment to its logical extreme) to an era of small-scale production. Perhaps many small lakes could supply many small ice houses that could sell their product in many small farmer's markets. If everybody were to "give back" the small amount of electricity their refrigerators and freezers use, perhaps it would make a difference. No question that we're talking here about "simpler" lives with less conveniences. The issue of being willing to live with less is at the heart of Beavan's challenge.

I just watched the trailer. It certainly must be more than feasible for people to reduce their consumption of throwaway products, use less electrical power, and so on. But I'm not so sure that giving up the elevator in the building where you live is optimal. Yes, it means that you'll burn off lots of calories, but if the height you must ascend & descend each day is too great, you'll just end up needing to replace some of those calories, which means needing more food. How does that compare with the energy cost of lifting your body that same height by an elevator? I don't think it's out of the question that an elevator can be made more efficient over its lifetime than its passengers' legs.

Sawdust is now harvested and used with glues to make particle baord (As in Ikea). Not much in maufacturing is wasted these days and with most manufaturing processes being exported overseas, harvesting sawdust is not a scalable venture in an urban environment.

Good luck ice farming and buying local produce in South West Texas! No impact is in my opinion a nonsensical goal. Obviously he had running water which is pumped to him after being processed using electricity. He also had sewage service all year long. His wife is right, he is a lunatic fringe wacko!

I have been to Africa and seen first hand the damage that "natural" living in large scale (i.e. 50,000+ residents)causes the environment. The polution in the air each night from the fire pits alone creates a disgustingly thick brown cloud of smoke that hangs over the villages, and you don't want to know about the sewage and garbage situations. This is simply not an idea that is scalable to a population of several million in modern "high population density" cities.

Fight global warming locally, throw a frozen margarita party!

There is one flaw I can see with this, otherwise great idea.

I happen to live in a town, where during the heyday of ice harvesting, they had a large harvesting facility on the local lake. The railroad line ran right beside the lake at that point, the rails are long gone now.

But, transport of the ice is not the flaw. At this point, the lake rarely freezes over! When it does, it's not even thick enough to walk on.

In addition, it is far from pristine, what with houses along the entire shore line.

Not to mention that New York, New York has become a tad bigger since.

What about the effect on the lake and surrounding area? The pollution from the vehicles?
People point out that electric vehicles still use electricity and teh electricity isn't free. But large power plants product electricity so much more efficiently and cleanly than a car engine. The pollution from the trucks needs to be considered.

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
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      1-1/2 oz sour mix
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      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
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    • Quantum Theory
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      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
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    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
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