"...To pluck a story from the Christian tradition, when an injured Jewish traveler was lying along the side of a road, it was the Samaritan, his sworn ethnic enemy, who decided to lend a hand. This scene was Jesus' response to the question "who is your neighbor?" We may like to think of ourselves as similarly generous, but we forget that the Samaritan had to actually walk past the injured man in the first place just to be presented with the dilemma.
...this can't happen if we don't build places to facilitate these interactions."
Monday, January 31, 2011
It's true... my bike does make me happier than my car did. And though I prefer an express bus to a car commute, I'd rather be on my bicycle. -if only I could cycle 45 miles in an hour... Although, if this list is right, I need to be thinking about getting a horse ( since I don't think that sailing up and down the Jordan river would quite work).
..."In this age, 'judging technology' means one of two things: reviewing a particular tool for how well it satisfies the consumer, or doing deep thinking about Technology as a whole. I don't think there's any such thing as 'technology'. Every tool, every system of tools, every use of every system of tools, is a different animal. And instead of judging a clothes dryer for how well it dries your clothes compared to another clothes dryer, we should also judge it for how it affects the meaningfulness of your life, the society it is part of, and the rest of life on this planet."
...here are the preliminary results for the more common transport means:
Monday, January 24, 2011
"... say your electricity came not from a dirty coal-steam plant but from algae that grew in a wetland cell that treated the effluent from your kitchen and bathroom? Suppose that once you had wrung out the algae mat for its rich gardening nutrients, you separated the oils from the biomass and refined those into fuel for your car. Then you took the leftover biomass and fed it to a pyrolyzing stove, which cooked your meals, heated your house, made your electricity, and left you not with ash but biochar — recalcitrant carbon ready to enrich your garden for the next 1000 years, staying out of the atmosphere all the while. Cool food, cool fuel, cool waste treatment, cool climate.
...From San Pedro you go up the Columbia Branch of the Rio Grande in a cedar dug-out poled by a dory man. The site is 2 miles (1 hour) up river at a shallow bend with tall stands of bamboo on the starboard shore.
...This is where we choose to teach permaculture. The place is its own best instructor.
...You could live quite comfortably on the breadnuts, avocados, corn, bananas, coffee, fish, beans and all the rest. You could drink from the river, although Chris harvests water for the kitchen from a spring farther uphill.
We are hosting introductory permaculture trainings outside Cancún through January, in Spanish, but for those interested in getting the whole design methodology at one location, in English, we direct you to our course in Belize. If you want to eat local organic food, sleep in dorms powered entirely by renewable energy, and bathe in a sparkling pure river, please contact Chris or visit his web site."
Here is a good reason to get your Darjeeling Tea from Equal Exchange:
From: Grist via WorldWatch Institute blog
"Unhappily, simply buying tea labeled Fair Trade doesn’t much affect conditions on the ground in Darjeeling...
...this is devastating. Even Western consumers who try to do the right thing by buying Fair Trade are financing ecological damage and poverty cycles in Darjeeling.
But ...he also points to an alternative: a cooperative project started by families who took over a tea plantation abandoned when the British left India in 1947. For decades, Kane writes, they shunned the global tea market and supported themselves through subsistence agriculture. Then 10 years ago, with the help of NGOs, they formed a dairy cooperative called Sanjukta Vikas Cooperative (SVC) to sell milk locally. Later, they revived the old tea bushes and began to produce organic tea, marketed in the United States by Massachusetts-based Equal Exchange under a Fair Trade label...
With increased profits, SVC has also been able to expand beyond tea and dairy. With the help of DLR Prerna, many SVC farmers have developed permaculture operations, integrating their tea bushes into agroforestry systems in which they grow cardamom, fresh vegetables, and raise cows and chickens. Trees prevent soil erosion and maintain habitat for animals that reduce pest pressure, and cows and chickens provide manure that can be used to fertilize crops. By diversifying their production, farmers are also creating more markets for their goods, giving them added financial security...
These farmers have turned their involvement in the global tea trade into hard assets: schools, clinics, and food-production infrastructure...
I think the lesson here is that global trade in food and agricultural products works best when it’s done in a limited fashion."
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
A few weeks back, on my way home I spotted in my neighborhood a lone coyote crossing busy 33rd Avenue just north of Fremont. While urban coyotes are not necessarily that out of the ordinary (such as the adventurous multi-modal coyote that boarded MAX light rail a few years back) but the neighborhood I live is not in proximity to large patches of habitat - even though as you can see from the breakdown of the grid, it is adjacent to the Alameda Ridge - which is not necessarily known as a significant habitat corridor.
:: image via OPB
"Coyotes have lived in Northeast Portland's Alameda Neighborhood for years. Audubon periodically receives reports from neighbors who have observed a coyote hunting mice at dawn in Wilshire Park or stealthily slinking down a neighborhood street as night approaches. It is no surprise that coyotes are there — coyotes, an animal that Navajo sheepherders once referred to as "God's Dog," have established themselves in neighborhoods across Portland just as they have established themselves in cities across North America. Although they are often observed alone, coyotes are pack animals and a pack will establish a territory over an area that can cover several kilometers. Normally they are shy and secretive, and neighbors often do not even realize that they are around."
The map below shows a shot of the neighborhood - the spotting occurred around the center of the map - to the southwest of Wilshire Park - the rectangular green space in the upper right quadrant which is about two blocks from our house.
:: image via KATU
"There will likely always be coyotes in the Alameda Neighborhood. New coyotes quickly replace coyotes that have been removed. The only real question is whether human residents will make changes that minimize conflicts with these wild dogs. Kudos to the Alameda residents for responding to their wild neighbors with a balance of caution, appreciation, and most importantly, proactive efforts to address potential conflicts."
In addition to some more coverage on OPB, there's also a short news blurb from local station KGW.
DUS Architects has created the Cocoon- an interactive lounge that inhabits the lobby at the Delft Faculty of Architecture. The flexible skin, measuring 32m3 is constructed of 150 inner bicycle tubes, measuring 20 meters each that can be inflated separately, responds both to user and spectator, adding to a new dimension to all types of environments.
Designed by architecture collaborative Lead Pencil Studio (Annie Han | Daniel Mihalyo), the site specific art installation built along the US-Canadian border takes the concept from the many billboards located in the area. The edges that give emphasis to an open rectangle advertising nothing, but cleaner air.
:: image via Arch Daily
:: images via Arch Daily
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Research led by economists at the University of Warwick reveals that medieval England was not only far more prosperous than previously believed, it also actually boasted an average income that would be more than double the average per capita income of the world's poorest nations today.
Summary & full paper (pdf): "British Economic Growth 1270-1870", Stephen Broadberry & others, University of Warwick.
Previously: they did not work that hard in those days, either.