Author Archives: Frank Quentin Esposito

Measuring intangibles

After the last speaker I began to wonder about measuring sensitivity. Many of the problems we discuss here are about objective and material problems. Easy enough to fix. How much do we use? How many years will it take. How many tons of whatever are we wasting. Simple stuff.

How do we classify the other things? Hard science only deals with the material and objective issues. What about the objective yet immaterial? Does it even exist?

Yes immaterial and yet objective things exist. When we sit in class and we engage in discussion with each other, that is a social connection. Immaterial, yet it is still a thing. How would one go about measuring that?

Decidable levels from chatter? Proximity of the seating clusters? Perhaps a quiz?

“How would you rate your class’s social connection with one another”

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

What happens when we rate the subjective is another fascinating experience.A rating for the level of attractiveness of other people is one we are all familiar with.

“She’s a soft 7.”

This brings me to a question related to sustainability. How important is it to you ? How do we measure this? As we saw in the TED talk, a grandfather would probably do anything to save the world for his grandchildren.

I’m not proposing to measure love. I am questioning the importance of judging what is worth saving. A way of life, or a place to live?

Does your Socioeconomic status affect your sustainability?

//Disclaimer – I harbor no ill will toward people based completely on economic status.//

Descartes said that The rich were thieves, and the common man was too dumb to know it. I like Descartes. Much has been said about how large the carbon foot print is of those who live in the west. The average carbon foot print is about 17tons here in North America. It is about 10 tons for our European cousins. There has also been some research about how developing nations are at sustainability projects. A lot of the sustainability can come from development. More efficient farms make better use of the land and so on. 

It’s key here to know the difference from development and consumerism. They are not connected. Consumerism is a choice, whereas development is simply a progress.

Since primitive farming techniques account for 13% of environmental damage as sourced by the WWF

Economic and Social status has a lot to do materialism in western cultures, we’ll examine the life style of the very rich, the very poor, and the middle; to see which is more sustainable. Spoilers:: No one wins; we all live on the same planet.

Lets start out with the Rich. Some over populated countries have an automotive use rationing system. The logic being that if you only drive every other day it will cut emissions. Many rich Chinese people simply but two cars to skirt the system. I’d love to use China as an example but their less liberal with sharing real automotive data than they are, say KILLING POLITICAL DISSIDENTS TO HARVEST THEIR ORGANS.

The math would look something like this. Take the amount of people skirting the rule with multiple car ownership. Find the average amount of Carbon emissions in China from automotive use, then take the percentage of the rule skirting rich population and divide by half. Then you’d have the amount of pollution you’d not have from these people. It wouldn’t matter to them most likely anyway, they’ll probably just rip the lungs out of some poor protestor fighting corrupt land grabs. And they’ll probably drive their OTHER Audi home.

We could probably go into the Saudi Royal family’s embodied wasteful life style, but the king just died so they get a pass this week.

The middle class with its nascent consumerism fairs no better. That toothbrush you use is part of the 4.7 billion plastic tooth brushes produced every year. Some simple math here a tooth brush weighs 25 grams X 4.7billion = 2.59×10^8 pounds. Buy a sustainable tooth brush. Since I’m guilty of never thinking about how much plastic goes into my oral cleanliness habit passes to the middle class this week too.

The poor are an easy target. And I personally find nothing funny about the plight of poverty but this picture is ridiculous.


See all that green missing in Haiti? It’s because they never read The Lorax as children and cut down all the forests. Not even to build stuff, it was mostly to cook with. The cost of poverty with modern populations is tremendous and the environment pays the bill. Poverty is an enemy of sustainability.

As much as the callous wealthy disregard the efforts to create sustainability for their own comfort and egos. As little as the consumerist middle class thinks about their actions. As dire the struggle to escape poverty causes the environment to be depleted. Each in your own way contributes to the unsustainable course we are on.





//I’ll prime my posts with disclaimers to avoid any confusion. Again I don’t really care what people wear, nor do I want anyone to light themselves on fire. This measly post is just for humor. //

The current fad on campus for most women is to be lazy and wear exercise clothes all the time. While I could bemoan male basket ball shorts and gym culture’s take over of fashion on campus it honestly doesn’t matter that much. A single note on pure fashion before I begin. Do not wear yoga pants with a skirt and pretend your are wearing tights; we all can tell when women do it. It is not formal and looks trashy.

Now onto the issue at hand. Other than offending good fashion sense yoga pants are a problem for sustainability. To put it bluntly the ugly things are made out of Spandex and Nylon, some even have cotton weaved into it. Spandex and Nylon are made from oil. It has to be refined and processed to make the thread.

A kilo of polyester, and ingredient in spandex  the material that makes yoga pants stretchy makes up 85% of the material for them. It takes 125 Megajoules to make a Kilogram of Polyester, and nearly twice that for nylon. If a yard of Spandex weighs 1 pound and a set of yoga pants takes 1.25 yards of fabric. 1.25 yards of fabric would weight 1.25 pounds, converted that equals .56 kg of polyester. In terms of embodied energy that’s 70 Mega Joules in a set of yoga pants, or 19 Kilowatt hours. Considering that it only takes 6 Kilowatt hours to make a gallon of gasoline 

This high level of embodied energy shows roughly how bad these ugly things are.

Lets also assume you are 5’&7″ and weigh 140 pounds (too many trips to Starbucks, who has time to workout anyway) . Here we’ll use the Du Bois Body surface calculation. We’ll need to convert the units to metric. W=63 kg H=170 cm

BSA= .007184 X (Weight^.425) X (Height^.725)  = 1.74 m^2

If your body has a surface area 1.74 meters squared and a Gallon of gasoline covers roughly 250 square feet converted to square meters that’s 23m^2. Well hot dog! A pair of yoga pants could net you enough gas to burn all night. 

From these calculations it would use way less petroleum to light yourself on fire than make a pair of those pants. Naturally there is more petroleum in the thread in Spandex than pure fuel, solids are denser than liquids.

There is another problem. Yoga pants aren’t very functional in the cold central Pennsylvania winter. Women’s thighs have been freezing so fashion geniuses at North Face and the rest of the copycats decided to make longer coats.


These longer gown coats cover the cold thighs of the yoga pant wearer. Not only are these people not helping the environment by buying synthetic yoga pants, they now need more Gortex or some other petrochemical coating to water proof their jacket. The red area highlights the wasted material. Also this person is walking in the snow when the sidewalk is completely clear next to her. Clearly she makes bad life choices.”

Bet you numbskulls thought yoga pants were “Hot”




Hi, I’m Frank Q. Esposito. I’m in my junior year here at Penn-State; I study Political Economy. I have a difficult time with mathematics; I’m taking this course for the GQ credit. I like to cook and garden. These hobbies require a stable and clean environment. My understanding of Sustainability, is the usage, of whichever resource should not outstrip the holding capacity of the environment. Resilience I’d define as being able to endure stress.

A note on future blog posts. I am a very pleasant and laid back person as you’ll come to know me in class. My blog will be focusing on the negative aspects of consumer culture. Specifically the choices students make in their actions and how they affect sustainability. For these posts I’ll be using an irate persona. The tone will consist of very dismissive and coarse nature. People’s intelligence, lack of foresight, and consumer choices ( Media, Clothing, ect) will be featured. I must mention to everyone at the start, something you may like, or even a core facet of your personality will come under fire. I harbor no special hatred, nor do many of the things I’ll be posting about even affect me in the slightest. While in the persona I’ll be posting with quotation marks and italics to let the reader know it is not to be taken to heart.

Say Hi to “Francis”

“Hello, I’ve come up with (saw a meme and stole it) a graphical  demonstration of how I feel about about the student population’s choices regarding sustainability on campus.


As I hope is clear enough for you to read on your smartphone, my disgust with fellow students is roughly the size of VY Canis Majoris, a hypergiant star. Good job, it was a team effort. We’ll discuss how an immaterial emotion could occupy so much physical space later on in the semester.

For now I want you to think about how you might have contributed to this. To aid you I’ll post some contemplative music for you. No, its not the same four cord Taylor Swift, or that other blonde imbecile who humps blow up dolls on stage. Its non-consumerist vapor-wave. Enjoy.