Comparing apples to Apple

by Peter Kim

Business for agriculture is roaring. Roughly 70 million tons of apples are produced every year, competing with the production of some of the largest tech products. Many companies are taking advantage of the growing sustainable energy industry, which adds pressure to local and small businesses. This unique graphic helps illustrate the comparison on how an apple stacks up against Apple.

Apple to Apples
Created by: MBA Online

With a passion for creative design and social media, Peter Kim is getting involved in the way information is presented, delivered, and received. Education, technology and the combination of both are subjects he follows closely. Follow Peter on Twitter.

Comments 48

  • “What an iphone is actually made of? According to a report recently released by Apple iphone is actually made by a list of materials like glass, stainless steel, plastic and some other materials. However for the most important component of an iphone, the circuit board, only very few detail information was released by that report. From our project research we find that the production process of these circuit boards actually involved the uses of a lot of minerals including cassiterite, wolfarmite, coltan and also gold which are originated from western Africa. Other than gold (which is already a metal by itself), those three others minerals are needed to be further extracted to obtain valuable metals for the production of circuit board. Many of these metals have very high value due to their unique properties. Unfortunately also due to their high value, some of the minerals was mined and smuggled by some military group in western Africa in order to support their own military activities and regional conflicts. In recent decades, nearly 7 million people in western Africa were killed by the conflicts indirectly supported by the revenue created by the mining industry, especially the Democratic Republic of Congo where a lot of coltan mines located. And so in recent years some people have started comparing the issues of blood diamond with coltan and other minerals originated in DR Congo. Some have even started calling this kind of minerals as so-called “conflict minerals”. In the following part, several types of these minerals will be briefly introduced.”
    How many people die to make iphones compared to how many die to create an organic apple. Exploitation is in both industries but I bet the death toll for coltan and other minerals is much much higher than in the apple orchards.

  • Sorry to do an off topic post right up top but couldn’t resist passing this along

    Mount Rainier Snowshoer Burned Money for Warmth
    By PHUONG LE and TED WARREN Associated Press
    TACOMA, Wash. January 18, 2012 (AP)
    A snowshoer who was lost in a blizzard for two days on Washington state’s Mount Rainier said he stayed alive by digging out a snow tunnel and burning the dollar bills for warmth.

  • Well that was different!

  • Robin noted on the last topic that “WordPress has moved the share bar from a horizoltal position below the POST to a vertical position on the left side of the WINDOW where it blocks a part of every line of the text except the top line on the iPhone 3G making reading quite difficult.”

    On my computer it blocked the comment section so I couldn’t type a comment.
    The Robin added this comment
    Robin Datta Says:
    January 20th, 2012 at 6:30 am
    I have figured out how to reduce the display of the “share” and “countres” section of the bar (but not completely eliminate them. And it cannot be made permanent, but has to be done each time the page is loaded. The “Go Top” and “Go Home” sections of the bar are not responsive to the switch and cover two-thirds of the window. With the switch, instead of reducing, they go to the top or load the home page

    I couldn’t quite follow that but found that on my computer to the far left on the screen is a thin bar that says “Sociable”. If you click on the little left pointing diamond under the word it takes the big bar away. But you have to do it each time you post a comment or refresh the page.

  • Thanks for the post, but the graphics do not display on the iPhone 3G. Will have to look them up on the computer.

    Off topic except tangentially: Kathy C, your suggestion in comments in the last post do not work on the Apple iPhone 3G. There is no “Sociables”. The share bar is not thin on the iPhone 3G screen, and the switches “downward pointing arrows” do not make anything risappear. They shrink the “Share” and “Counters” sections, but do not work at all on the “Go Top” or “Go Home” sections.

  • Robin, I see now what you mean about the arrows on the share and counters. The sociable option is to the left of that on the computer but probably not showing on a smaller screen. I wonder who we could complain to about this so we don’t have to keep clicking things to read or comment. Hopefully our solutions however will help others with small and large screens who are having the same problem.

    OTOH perhaps the CME headed this way will take out our computers this weekend and we will move on to other problems???

  • I have already lodged a complaint with WordPress.
    Here is the link: Support

  • Thanks Robin – my complaint is lodged.

  • I was dismayed to find that box hovering over the text; clicking on the left arrow got rid of it. (Perhaps WordPress responeded quickly to the complaints).

    NZ was a major exporter of apples. However, the high NZ dollar (or low many other currencies), incompetence and complacency in the martketing board and climate instability ‘conspired’ to make life difficult for apple growers, many of whom switched to grapes for wine production. Following the wine glut, which depressed prices, we seem to be headed for an impoverished world in which only the 1% will be able to afford wine.

    As with most things, the future will be one of growing your own, making your own [wine], bartering or going without.

  • Off topic.

    The Easy Way is now available as an e-book.

    listed under business and financial, whereas the hardcopy

    is listed under environment and science.

    This February marks the fifth anniversary of me speaking to the local council about the crucial issues of the times and being ignored (following on from futile attempts to raise awareness with the council where I lived previously).

    Needless to say, the community is ‘being driven straight off the cliff’ (though at a slightly slower pace).

  • Not sure if Peter Kim is a regular reader or if he just provided that here for our own enlightenment, but either way, thanks Peter – very interesting.

    Ironic, really, that I was eating an apple, while reading that on my Apple laptop while my Apple iPhone was chirping that I had received a text message. Egads, I’m tired of this technology merry-go-round. I can’t wait to divorce myself of it. Maybe Kathy C is right and we won’t have to worry about it much past this weekend. :-)

    On a related note, today one of my patients, who is on Medicaid, was lamenting the high cost of some over the counter medicine and wondering if I would write a prescription for it so that Medicaid would pay for it, while looking up a picture she wanted to show me on her new iPhone 4. Her monthly phone bill almost certainly amounts to more than what Medicaid pays me in a month for providing her with medical care at least once a week. Of note, she drives a Cadillac Escalade. Talk about screwed up priorities! Sigh.

  • Where will apples (with a lower-case “a”) grow in the future?

    Attribution to bifidusactivo commenting on Gail Tverberg’s (gailtheactuary’s) blog Our Finite World, in the most recent post. 

    The World 4°C Warmer

  • Where will apples (with a lower-case “a”) grow in the future?

    Attribution to bifidusactivo commenting on Gail Tverberg’s (gailtheactuary’s) blog Our Finite World, in the most recent post. 

    The World 4°C Warmer

  • Dr House, you mentioned a topic or two back the wildly fluctuating temps in AR. Same here in AL. I’ve started checking weather dot com’s departure from normal more frequently. When you do that you don’t know if you are detecting something new or noticing something old, but the swings are wild
    At any rate the weird thing last night was the end of day was about 55 and it started rising at sundown, now at to 63 at 5:45AM. I am sure that can happen if a storm is moving in, but I am sure I never noticed it before :) More weirdness. Montana has jumped severely from way above normal to way below and back again over the last few days.

    Ah well the migrating robins have arrived. I am used to them coming in January now, although their migration used to be later. My husband says his grandmother told him they used to darken the sky at migration time and that they made robin breast pie with them. Whatever, their talking in the bushes and trees is delightful.

    BTW sounds like you have a very enterprising patient. Funny how manipulation of the system looks so bad when human people do it and is lauded by finance when corporate people do it.

  • We used to own and run a small farm and feed store. The customers who most complained about our prices were generally the ones driving the most expensive cars or trucks. I remember one gentleman in particular–upset because we were charging two dollars for our bales of straw, saying he used to be able to buy them for a dollar. He was driving a Ford Expedition with chrome all around. I told him to go back to earning what he earned forty years ago and we’d talk about dropping our prices. Never saw him again. We went bankrupt a few years back and I sometimes wonder if I should have worked harder on my business attitude!

  • Robin, if true that solves one problem, energy. Which leaves humans free to continue on to peak phosphate, peak water, peak potable water, peak soil, overpopulation. It would be the solution that isn’t….

  • So, is the problem solved?

    Don’t think so. Rossi hasn’t yet convinced me that he has solved the ‘hooking up to existing home systems’ yet. For one thing there are a variety of home systems (central electric, central gas, central hot water distribution (radiators). My understanding is that his box needs to fit into all those. Well, maybe. But it has one over-arching challenge associated with it – it takes about an hour to come up to the proper heat. So this is not something you can simply turn on and off like gas or electricity. It really needs to be operating all the time. So that means you need a way of discharging excess heat when a comfortable home temperature has been reached.

    I think these are engineering issues that will be ironed out as the market expands and thousands of engineers and technicians get their hands on the technology to make improvements. Many different businesses will arise out of this.

  • MAYBE it solves the energy problem….this is a BIG world…..a new technology takes decades to roll out. (though certainly this one would get a bit of priority, I would think)

  • Kathy C:

    BTW sounds like you have a very enterprising patient. Funny how manipulation of the system looks so bad when human people do it and is lauded by finance when corporate people do it.

    I agree. Generally, when I’m out to dinner with friends or at a social function of some sort and the person I’m talking to starts to complain about all the abuse of the “entitlement” programs, I will agree and say something to the affect of “yeah, and when we get all those lazy farmers to give up their million dollar subsidies, and those crooked bankers to stop taking bailouts, and all the on-the-take politicians are prosecuted, maybe we can start to balance the budget.” Tends to make me somewhat unpopular. If that didn’t do it, then my talk about how it doesn’t really matter anyway since the whole thing is about to crash around our heads, clinches the deal.

  • Robin Datta, I’ve always enjoyed reading maps. The one you linked to has a common flaw found in almost all maps of the globe – disproportion. It’s very difficult to represent adequately a 3-D sphere on a 2-D drawing, so quite frequently, cartographers will stretch the northern and southern latitudes to make them connect properly on the drawing.

    According to this map, Greenland has approximately the same or slightly more land area than Canada or the U.S. However, actually, Greenland has a little more than 2.1 million sq km. Compare that to Canada and the U.S. which have almost 10 million sq km each and you begin to see the misrepresentation here. So, to be a good representation, Greenland should be drawn about 1/5 the size it’s currently drawn. The same flaws can be found in how Siberia is drawn.

    The reason I bring this up is because according to this map there is ample room in the northern latitudes for humans to migrate north; when in fact, there is much less room than we occupy currently. Clearly, the world’s 7 billion people would not fit in these areas. (Much less the 8-9 billion expected over the next decade or so.)

    There are several “pie-in-sky” claims made on the map as well. I would ask the author where he thinks all the money and energy will come from to build all these “compact high-rise cities” he indicates will house the world’s population. Or where will all the resources come from to build “thousands of kilometers” of PV and solar thermal power stations.

    I realize that you aren’t the author nor did you suggest to endorse the information, but I just wanted to preach to the choir a little this morning :-) Perhaps I will head over to Gail’s blog and share my thoughts there.

  • Dr. House, I am also not the most popular of guests either for the same reasons. One time at a friend’s daughter’s graduation I mentioned to a woman that I had spent time in Haiti recently. She asked me if all those Carribean women were just naturally thin. I began to expound on poverty and hunger and dying babies and my friend got really pissed – didn’t want that kind of talk at her daughter’s party. So it goes…..

  • The Mercator projection is a cylindrical map projection presented by the Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator, in 1569. It became the standard map projection for nautical purposes because of its ability to represent lines of constant course, known as rhumb lines or loxodromes, as straight segments. While the linear scale is constant in all directions around any point, thus preserving the angles and the shapes of small objects (which makes the projection conformal), the Mercator projection distorts the size and shape of large objects, as the scale increases from the Equator to the poles, where it becomes infinite.

  • ‘I was dismayed to find that box hovering over the text; clicking on the left arrow got rid of it.’

    same here, kevin. thanks to robin for initially bringing this problem up, and to kathy for pointing out the fix. thanks also kathy for the very first comment posted below the featured essay. penetrating perception of a crucial distinction between how apples and ‘apples’ are produced which the featured post overlooked. it seems that greed and violence are often handmaidens to lucrative and environmentally destructive industries like mining precious metals. it’s tragic so much money is spent on weapons and war. but as kathy, kevin, tsdh and others are fond of pointing out, before too long collapse will be putting an end to everything that wealth enables, good, bad, and indifferent.

    ‘At any rate the weird thing last night was the end of day was about 55 and it started rising at sundown, now at to 63 at 5:45AM. I am sure that can happen if a storm is moving in, but I am sure I never noticed it before’

    this happens frequently in upstate new york, especially in the winter when sunshine is relatively weak, often obscured by clouds, and days are short. air temperatures this time of year tend to be more affected by changing air masses (cold and warm fronts) than by the time of day.

  • This is the forecast for 24 hours for the local area. The locality can be changed and the link saved for any area in the uS. hourly forecast

  • This vid is labeled new evidence of explosions on 9/11 but listen on, it is much more about the health effects of working in the dust afterward and the man coming forward doesn’t mind speaking his mind.

  • Apple’s Foreign Suppliers Demonstrate Widespread Scamming and Horrific Abuse of Employees
    Apple’s bombshell report on its suppliers shows anti-employee practices as common as iPods. White collar criminologist William K. Black investigates.

  • On cognitive dissonance and 911, but the same is true about introducing peak oil or climate change

  • Kathy:

    Hope you are ok with the latest round of storms. Good thing climate change is not causing March/April weather in the South.
    Denial through the end.

  • We are wet but unharmed by any tornadoes – thanks for the concern Curtis. Cedar Waxwings in the trees today – definitely much earlier migration than usual. But added to the robins who are also here the sky was filled with a gush of sound after the gush of rain subsided and the sun came out. Little joys in a world gone made.

  • Peter Kim

    Nicely done. Your investigations though stopped before the most interesting part, that part that could enchant industrialized systems.
    May I suggest to have a deeper look into the matter?

    Like dividing the (edible) apples into 2 sections.
    1.Grown centralised with the use of herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, fertilizer, water use, energy, stored centrally at a storage facility, transported to shops (maybe even flown across the globe), bought by eaters (70 kg human, driving 2000 kg car to buy 1 kg of apples), the use of water and sewerage to get “rid” of whatever remains, loss of soil, minerals, species, etc, so forth.
    2. The organically grown apple in your neighbourhood, maybe your own front- or backyard, stored in a cellar or underground (can one call this underground pile?), the remains used to fuel a compost toilet and be returned to the apple trees in some cycle.
    In both comparing the horizon of the lifetime of apple trees or orchard over time (replanting), damage or benefit of the soil lets say a hundred years? It’s very much about internal and “external” costs, also about the summary of benefits and damage done whilst growing, storing, eating and destiny of the remains of these two kinds of apples.

    Now lets move over to the other apples (inedible ones).
    Time horizon is difficult (as with the apples above) those famous 7 generations?, 10.000 years of agriculture – a tenth of this? Would be interesting to find the years when, due to the loss of revenue for not being able to grow food anymore due to the loss of fertile soil, water, biosphere by mining, exceeds those famous billions grabbed nowadays. Simply saying, how many years until the return turns negative, even to an economist.

    This is just the beginning. Kathy above already has a list of the various costs of mining, destruction of people,(culture) land, air, water, energy.
    So given the chosen time horizon, what is the true cost of the product (including all! external costs).
    Then there is the use of the Apple, how much energy etc. is needed to be able to run the device over lifetime, what is the lifetime?
    Then, where does the Apple end up? Is being dismantled in Africa (as so much of European electronics hazardous waste) or India being “recycled” in open air whilst burning down the plastic to get hold of the copper? Is it done elsewhere and how? What is the true cost of this recycling, given air, water, soil, man (breast milk) pollution?

    This may not be the end of the list, just exhausted myself now.
    One further hint – the talk about sustainability. A society that would take this world by its meaning would trade 1 litre of diesel at the cost of 1,500 (one thousand and five hundred), 1 kilowatthour electricity at 300 Euro. the first is a comparison of work done by man, given a “fair” wage and the content of work being done by one litre of diesel, the second similar.

    Now I’m quite sure that, adding the (true) costs of energy and ressources or doing a calculation based on these numbers will not be possible to be published anywhere(except on NBL;-).
    Plus it would show that only the richest people could afford an Apple, few an apple from a centralised orchard, everyone of us an apple from our backyard or neighbourhood.

  • Bernhard thanks for adding the info on the recyling of old Ipods etc. It is not just Apple of course. Our western lifestyle is poisoning the rest of the world in so many ways one can’t begin to count.

    Anthony, good article, however I notice that right at the end of the article you posted is the little bit about China being a communist country as if that has anything to do with the issue. Communism doesn’t explain all the similar exploitation in India etc. eh?

  • Internet freedom? Kiss it goodbye by 2013. A covert treaty is presently being ratified by the developed countries of the world – the US has already ratified it. It is SOPA on steroids and hardly anyone knows about it….

  • Sort of off topic:

    With honey bee populations decimated, 7 million bats dead from “white nose syndrome”, road kills by the millions daily, and other ecological tragedies too numerous to mention, my heart breaks for the natural world. How sad. How disgusting!

  • TRDH: After each mass extinction there has been a massive adaptive radiation by the survivors to fill all the ecological opportunities that opened up, creating not just new species, but new genera, families and even orders. The cumulative effects of all the extinctions-radiations resulted in us today. Maybe the dinosaurs wept in their time, but in the grand scale, they made room for us.

  • Robin, of course, you’re right. Just as in the grand scheme of things Earth itself is but a blip in the course of cosmological history. However, distance in time and scale may lessen the importance of a personal or even-species level event, but it doesn’t lessen my personal pain from watching and/or experiencing it.

  • imo anything having to do with collapse and it’s associated anguish for the aware is essentially ‘on topic’ here at nbl, tsdh.

    sometimes i speculate that life has no value, but only because i see it treated so cheaply. put another way, civilization seems to be at war with nature, as civilized humans strive to gain control/dominion over all in order to acquire fleeting wealth/power. it does strike me as insane and tragic. also blasphemous to place no value whatsoever on the grandeur of nature and ‘wildlife’, and to create a culture in which we ourselves are slaves to domestication/convention/artificial ‘laws’. all blasphemous, in my view, for nature itself is of great value, or should be, would be seen as such in a sane society. nature is beautiful, spectacular, awesome. however civilized sheople eschew nature worship in favor of ridiculous contrived myths of anthrocentric ‘gods’.

    whatever. easy come, easy go, eh? perhaps industrial civilization will set back evolution a few million/billion years, but what’s that in the face of infinity? (waxing philosphical like this is a good way of temporally ‘forgetting’ current woes. in the looooooooong run, everything will be ‘fine’, dead, reborn?)

  • There has been a little bit of good news recently.

    The IMF forecasts for growth in the Eurozone are mostly negative. And Britain has just recorded negative economic growth.

  • looks like an interesting documentary in production featuring guy/collapse is in the works. hopefully it will be completed. i anticipate doing my part with a money donation. guy, when u post info. re. how to make a donation to this project, please include a snail mail address for receiving checks. it might also help to speculate what the cost of production will be and how much the filmmaker hopes to raise in donations.

  • Gail Tverburg (gailtheactuart) in hrs blog Our Finite World suggests a sudden and rapid collapse, and the possible extinction of humans:

    More Reasons Why We are Reaching Limits to Growth

    5. In the normal scheme of things, world systems would rest and regroup once resources reach some sort of crisis point, defined by Liebig’s Law of the Minimum. Soils would build up again; aquifers would refresh; climate would reach a new equilibrium; and a different group of plants and animals would become dominant. Oil and gas supplies might even be prebuilt, over millions of years. It is not clear that humans will be part of the new world order, however.

    Natural systems often operate through a build up of forces, followed by a cataclysmic release

    There are no doubt some natural forces operate at a pretty steady level indefinitely–gravity, for example. But many of the processes we experience are “batch processes”. We remain awake during the day; by evening we become tired, and fall asleep until the next morning. We eat, digest the food, and become hungry again. Movement of earth’s plates gradually builds up forces which are released by an earthquake. When force is released, the change can be quick and dramatic.

  • Spelunking in the psyche:

    The Archdruid Report: The Nyth of the Machine

  • Gail the actuary writes well but I think hasn’t “gotten it yet” – about the fact that some changes are cataclysmic she is right. Her explanations about why the workers in the global south need less money (warmer so houses don’t have to be heated etc.) misses the point that global south workers get paid MUCH less than would be covered by her explanations because the US is an exploitative empire that does not value the lives of humans in third or even 2nd world countries.

    she also says “If we think about it, it is pretty obvious how humans could fit into the natural world better. We could behave like other animals. We could stop wearing clothes. We could stop living in houses. We could eat food in its raw form. This food would be only that which we can pick or catch with our bare hands. We could co-evolve with our fellow creatures. If a virus or bacteria comes along and kills off a significant share of mankind, or if a woman dies in child-birth, we could simply accept that as the natural order of things. I don’t think any of us would accept such a solution, though. It is just too harsh an outcome. Such a solution would not work except in very warm climates, and even there, we would need fire to cook meals and tools for killing animals. Under one theory, cooking of food is necessary for our current level of intelligence, so we could not give that up.”

    This assumes that what the future holds is negotiable based on what we will except. RIGHT…..

    But I didn’t expect much from Gail. She took an industry funded trip to see some fracking operations and came back to the Oil Drum all in favor of fracking. She said “more people will die sooner if we don’t”. I commented that more people total will die just by putting off the crash and probably also because of water pollution and global warming. She didn’t respond but had previously deleted comments I made about global warming because they weren’t on topic even though in the topic she had mentioned global warming.

  • Robin:
    It’s been a few years since I’ve read the Archdruid Report, but I see that JMG is still beating ideas into submission by sheer repetition. Also, he has a magician’s naive belief that if you know the secret name of a thing, you control it. I tend to believe that if you know the secret name of a thing, you give it permission to eat you–intern’s disease writ large.

    That said, JMG brings up the uncomfortable idea that machines are inextricable from the human psyche. Simple machines [the inclined plane, the lever, the wheel] have become the source of our species’ most destructive metaphors [progress, money, time]. When the TVs go black and the SUVs stop running, we no doubt will salvage bits and pieces of the metaphors that they have spawned, along with wiring, microchips, removable seats and leaf springs.

  • JMG’s writing, though long-winded, at least attempts to expose part of the true nature of our culture of illusion. We need more of that kind of writing, instead of prose that is simply beautiful for its own sake.

    It would probably be more correct to say that, regarding “secret” names of things, knowing them makes the playing field a little more level. Bringing such naivete to bear may be healthy, in that respect.

    Sometimes things really are as simple as our instincts try to tell us.

  • As I have noted before JMG sells magic for personal gain – that doesn’t mean he never has anything useful to say, but if he really thinks he can teach folks to divine the answer to life’s everyday questions via numbers system, I name him a nut. If he doesn’t believe it but makes money selling books promoting it I name him a quack.
    Art and Practice of Geomancy, The: Divination, Magic, and Earth Wisdom of the Renaissance – book descritpion
    Have you ever lost an important object? Are you taking on a new job? Looking for buried treasure? The Art and Practice of Geomancy teaches readers how to divine the answers to life’s everyday questions about health, luck, new jobs, and love, as well as those less mundane tasks such as finding buried treasure, predicting the weather, being released from prison, and identifying secret enemies. Greer delivers to readers an ancient system of divination in an easy-to-use form requiring little more than a pen and a piece of paper. Using a system of counting odd and even numbers–from a deck of cards, a roll of the dice, or even by hitting sand or dirt with a stick to generate patterns–readers learn how to cast their own geomantic chart. And for those who wish to delve further, he offers exercises for geomantic meditation and ritual magic. The Art and Practice of Geomancy will appeal to pagans, followers of the Western Mystery tradition, scholars of folk magic and divination, and anyone who wants to take their past, present, and future into their own hands.

  • A new post is available for commentary. It’s here.