Took a walk with Andrew yesterday to the park across the street to clear my head. It worked, for a little bit at least. Lately I’ve been living a week at a time. Once this week is over I can recenter–catch up on my NaNoWriMo project, finish some books I started reading, watch some movies, make some things I’ve been putting off. I’m looking forward to relaxing.
Virginia City, Nevada is an amazing place. I went up there quickly this Thursday to cover a story for work (VC is about 40 mins away from Reno), and I couldn’t help but stop and take a few pictures. It was cloudy, which made the whole town feel a little eerie. This place is full of great, old architecture and some gorgeous views of Nevada’s hills.
(^That is my dream car… an orange Karmann Ghia. Sigh…)
Yesterday, my boyfriend and I were itching to get outdoors, so we decided to hike the Coldstream Valley Trail in Truckee, Calif. Truckee is great–it has a Tahoe-like vibe but without the large crowds that swarm Tahoe’s trails during the summer. We thought it would be a good time to try out a hiking and trails app, too, so we downloaded My Tracks (available for Android and iPhone) to help us track our progress.
Coldstream Valley is a few miles away from the heart of Truckee, but it’s easy to find right off the freeway. The trail starts with a road that passes a campground, and eventually leads to the stream. Depending on how far you go, you’ll eventually hit a few large ponds along the stream. We hiked about two and a half miles in, and about a mile was uphill. It’s a great trail, well maintained and mostly shaded by trees.
My Tracks really came in handy while we were out trekking. It served as a map, and also kept track of our progress. When we got home, we were able to upload our path to Google Earth, and it played a video of exactly where we went! I’ll try to figure out a way to upload the video because it’s pretty cool (any idea on how to export a Google Earth file as a video?). Here are some of our stats.
This trail was a great find–it wasn’t busy at all, either, on the Sunday before Fourth of July, which is usually when people plan to go camping. We also stopped at the Fifty Fifty Brewery on the way back home for some locally brewed beer.
I’d say it was a successful adventure!
I’m subscribed to more than 100 gardening blogs, and succulents seem to be all the rage this year. As a Nevada dweller, it seemed only natural to introduce some to my household. Despite being an environmental writer, I’m actually pretty awful at growing things and keeping them alive. Apparently, a green pen does not equal a green thumb. Who knew? Nevada’s landscape and weather are also unpredictable, so that doesn’t help much.
So I ran out yesterday and grabbed myself a handful of succulents (although I wouldn’t actually hold them in your hands because they can be prickly little buggers.) I kinda went nuts over them since they are so freakin’ cute. I about died over the little pink cactus.
A while ago I got a few old ammo containers from the army surplus store that I was intending to use to hold office supplies in my new office. But I knew one would be the perfect size for my mini succulent garden. (I didn’t spray paint it, the red was on them when we got it.)
Here are the “babies,” as we’ve been calling them.
I filled the ammo container with some old soil I had sitting around from when I planted garlic, but usually you’re supposed to use cacti soil. I think they will be okay though.
Here’s the finished result!
Now I can’t decide if I want to put this in my office at work or keep it at home… I might have to make a few more… plus, the whole project cost less than $30. Not a bad way to lighten up your work space for cheap.
Today’s IO is environmental themed!
Another oil spill off the coast of the coast of Scotland. While I agree that the spills are not equal, it’s always good to remind people of the disastrous consequences for relying on oil.
I just watched the interview with Mohamed Nasheed on The Daily Show last week. His story is pretty fascinating, and he makes some important points about how climate change is impacting communities around the world. I also liked this quote: “To switch from this old technology, fossil fuel… it’s a very, very old technology. I mean, you know, come on. It’s as old as the 1800s, and it’s such a surprise that the United States would think this is technology that is viable now.”
My boyfriend works with algae biofuels at the Desert Research Institute (which we call Black Mesa, as Half-Life fans) so I’m interested to see in how feasible of an option this is to help solve our energy crisis.
Ahh, two of my loves: hacking and sustainability. Andrew (my bf as previously mentioned) and I would like to build our own home someday, and I would love to be able to function off grid.
All of my attempts to grow anything have been disastrous. I kill everything. I forget to water, I water too much, I leave the plants outside in a windstorm, etc. etc. But since I’m moving soon, I’m determined to grow at least one or two things at my new place. I’m thinking about just growing herbs to start. These are some good tips for noob gardeners like me.
I really, really like this article. I’ve been thinking a lot about public transportation. I grew up in the Bay area so taking BART was a regular thing. Then I moved toNevadawhere you have to drive to get anywhere, except for inReno, where there are things within walking distance and there is a bus route. I would use the bus more except that my schedule is generally pretty spontaneous, and I sometimes have to drive pretty far to cover stories. But I think it’s important for us to start reimagining transportation based on our priorities as a society. I would much rather spend an hour reading on the subway, talking to friends, listening to music and relaxing, etc. while getting to work every day than having to drive. Luckily I live pretty close to where I work and go to school, but I sincerely hope thatNorthern Nevadamakes more public transpo a bigger priority.
Not exclusively “environmental,” but since we are part of the universe, it’s nice to see the beauty of it beyond the earth. Amazing photography as only National Geographic can deliver.
Have a great week!
Oh, and if you stopped by because of my PirateBox post, welcome! Feel free to drop me a line on the Contact page.
Diaphanous and heavy,
you circle around me like a
fractured merry-go-round -
dizzying, foreboding of what’s
to come. I love the darkness
and the heady greys that come
with your enveloping mouth.
I love the seasonal rain that turns
us all to stone.
The stoicism of this dark afternoon,
under clouds, under storm clouds
not crackling with electricity but rather
the calm in the storm, the eye of the
snow, that glass maiden with her sharp
touch. I always preferred
a woman with a quick tongue,
a bite that breaks the skin and reveals
the blood. The blood that bleeds
hot and melts the ice, until it molds
again in the shape of your hands
grasping the last of the winter,
the grip impenetrable, unbreakable.
Winter is a harsh bitch
and for that I am drawn into
her frigid embrace. Only she
can I fear and desire, a crazed
and rabid love that freezes as
When the summer pulls the sweat
from my skin it is her touch I crave.
The soft warmth of spring is
but a dull poet’s dream; what I want
is the keen bleak reminder of this
enthralling affair, that pushes me to
the lengths of love and further into
that other lover, the secret solace
Happy Monday! Oh, it’s also President’s Day, so happy that, too. Did any of you dress up like Abe Lincoln or anything? I don’t get the day off, although my boyfriend does (although he didn’t figure that out until he had already gotten to campus and everything was closed. Whoops.). We journos don’t get time off like the rest of you lollygaggers. Journalists never sleep!
Sorry. I recently read Transmetropolitan so I’ve been really embracing the abstract concepts of what it means to be a journalist. I’m torn between feeling totally self-righteous and self-indulgent, and being humble in my work. I am a conveyer of information! I bring the truth to the masses! I am a warrior of the pen! Huzzah!
Well, that might be only partially true, but mostly I write about autonomous cars, video games, lockpicking, and other nerd-tastic stuff.
Anyway, here’s some cool stuff around the web for you to peruse as you lounge around at home in your pajamas enjoying the day off. Psch. Must be nice to be you, enjoying a national holiday! Way to exploit the system!
A friend of mine share this article on Facebook, and it seems like a good way to start off the week. The author—a male—acknowledges how people project the notion that women are crazy by insisting that their reactions to circumstances are overly emotional and illogical. I’ve had this happen to me more times than I can count, and I’m very grateful that someone has pointed it out. So if you find yourself talking down a female friend or family member, stop and reflect on what they are saying and how they are feeling. We’re reasonable creatures, and deserve to be treated as such.
I have issues with calling it a “bible,” because I’m tired of books being sensationalized like that, but I’m really curious to check this out. Last summer, I helped a bit with the original core cadre of Occupy Wall Street (seriously—I was on the “media assassin squad,” I was interviewed for HuffPo about the Occupy West Coast that eventually turned into Occupy San Francisco, and I have an official @occupywallst.org email address). While I haven’t been nearly as involved as I wanted to be—especially since the occupation in my town is a huge stray from what we set out to do with OWS—I’d like to read this book to read because I still very much believe in this movement. But, it’s hard to not be skeptical when a book is written by a small group about a movement that is essentially leaderless.
Buying a “green” item is still inferior to reusing. Consumerism, no matter how eco-friendly, encourages wastefulness. This is why the maker/hacker/self-repair culture is important—because we need to get more creative on how we make and preserve our resources rather than pouring money into a broken system.
Okay, this really isn’t the most beautiful décor, but I’ve been trying to think of a way to reuse all of the shampoo/conditioner bottles that I found myself needing to get rid of this weekend. I think this could look cool in a garage or workshop, although I would probably spray paint them first and make them look a bit nicer.
I’m really interested in seeing this. I’ve been an Apple critic for a long time, but as an Android user, I know that my gadgets probably aren’t made in any better conditions (if anyone has information about where/how Android phones are built, please let me know). This topic is closely tied to the above article about ethical consumerism—not only is what we buy contributing to environmental wastefulness, but people in other countries are suffering because of it. I know arguments can be made that it helps their economies, yaddy yaddy yadda, but enslaving young men and women to conduct mindless tasks is not the answer. Humans should always be more important than profits. Unfortunately, that’s not how the world works right now.
So I’ve decided to do Information Overload on Fridays as well, because by the end of the week I’ve probably read more cool stuff that I want to share, and I had a lot of fun doing the installment on Monday. It’s like an annotated bibliography! (Why am I excited about that? Can you tell I’ve been in academia mode?)
If you have any cool articles you think I’d like, send ‘em my way by visiting my contact page!
It’s been a year since the Tahrir Square protest in Cairo, Egypt. It was a revolution that shook the world awake and has resulted in countless other protests throughout the globe, including America’s ongoing Occupy Wall Street. This article features people commemorating the Arab Spring anniversary.
Speaking of collective action, India is planning the world’s biggest strike on February 28th. Sounds like a call for some global solidarity. A large stone dropped into a lake sets off some big ripples…
I’ll read pretty much anything with “education” and “hackers” in it, so this article struck my fancy almost immediately. I love the notion of educators “hacking” ideas—that’s what they should be doing! I also think the “unconference” idea is interesting and I’d like to participate in something like that sometime. If I end up doing my PhD soon, I’d like to get more involved with EdCamp. I’m pretty convinced that bridging education with hacking culture is what will save our schools, because we’ll end up deconstructing everything that isn’t working and forming a new way of approaching learning—hopefully with an open source mentality. (On a somewhat related note, Good.is’s Education section is one of the best on the web. The editor Liz Dwyer tackles a ton of great topics. I highly suggest subscribing to her new’s feed if you’re at all interested in the future of education.)
Later this weekend I’ll be sharing an essay about why Apple’s announcement about textbooks on the iPad isn’t a big deal at all, and this is a good reason why. As an open source advocate, I think that digital textbooks are an excellent way to reduce the financial and environmental burden of physical textbooks, and can be used to make interactive, innovative texts from which students can learn and actually interact with. Inexpensive—or even free—technology should be a huge focus of educators and investors looking for a project in which to invest, because it makes knowledge and information accessible to students who may never have had access to it before. I like that Google is encouraging an open platform that can be adapted to fit particular schools. It’s nice to see this kind of tech in classrooms.
Aside from the snarky comments toward technology—I’ll never understand why technology and the environment have to be regarded as separate… even the most basic tools our ancestors made are technically considered “technological”—I think this is a really interesting approach to storing food. My boyfriend and I are always stressing about our produce going bad in our fridge, so sometimes we leave certain items out on the counter (which doesn’t always help either). I would love another way to store—and display!—my food, because I think vegetables are terrific and deserve to be seen in a home. I agree with the point that when beautiful and colorful produce is displayed, people are more likely to pick it up and chomp on it. I am always tempted to bite into radishes when I’m at the market. Mmm. I’m really interested in the science behind food decay, which I think would help people better understand how to compost and store their food.
Uh oh. The robot takeover has begun. Just kidding. This is so cool! There are so many things you can build with some old parts.
I, for one, am very glad it’s Friday. What are your plans for the weekend? I’m thinking about spray painting my laptop, which I just recently fixed and reformatted (with Fedora 16, finally. Holla!). Or I might just continue redecorating my houses in Skyrim with console commands. It’s pretty much my new favorite hobby.
This is part of a series called Exploring Literacy. Check out the first installment here.
I really enjoy being an environmental journalist because so many of the ideas and attitudes that I encounter in the green movement are closely aligned with an open source mentality, and I would definitely argue that sustainability is part of being an open sourcer. This seems especially relevant when I think of hackerspaces, and how many of the projects that hackers create in those atmospheres are about reusing existing resources, or finding more efficient ways to do things.
Recently I heard a term I liked–”ecoliteracy.” It’s short for ecological literacy. Wikipedia has a nice article about it, and defines it as:
“Ecological literacy (also referred to as ecoliteracy) is the ability to understand the natural systems that make life on earth possible. To be ecoliterate means understanding the principles of organization of ecological communities (i.e. ecosystems) and using those principles for creating sustainable human communities. The term was coined by American educator David W. Orr and physicist Fritjof Capra in the 1990s thereby a new value entered education; the “well-being of the earth.” An ecologically literate society would be a sustainable society which did not destroy thenatural environment on which they depend. Ecological literacy is a powerful concept as it creates a foundation for an integrated approach to environmental problems. Advocates champion eco-literacy as a new educational paradigm emerging around the poles of holism, systems thinking, sustainability, and complexity.”
But what does this look like for the average person? How can teachers instill these ideas in their students, and how can we ensure that the general public is thinking about these ideas too?
I’ve been covering the ongoing struggles that a local agriculture business has been facing here in Reno. It’s been interesting to witness the community response to this. Basically, there is a plot of land located at the University of Nevada, Reno that is used for agriculture purposes, and the university wants to sell it to help pay of some of its debt by monetizing it. In order to rally the community to help save this land, the community has to understand why it’s important to fight for local agriculture. So how do they learn that? Is it enough to post links on Facebook? Or do they need to know what outsourced food will do to their bodies and to the local economy? What about learning to garden and supply food for one’s family? Will documentaries, books, speeches and lectures help?
Each person in a community learns differently, and these kinds of political struggles are a good opportunity for resistance leaders to tap into multiple literacies. The idea of multiple literacies is generally supported across the board by literacy and education scholars. It’s hard to argue against it–essentially, it’s the idea that people learn differently, and that people learn with all senses. For instance, if you want a child to learn about flowers, have them plant a seed–feel the soil, the seeds, bury it in the earth with their hands. Smell the growth–the scent of the petals and the pollen. Observe the growth–the germination and the blossoming. Give them a book to read about the scientific names of the parts of plants, and pair that with a film about the photosynthesis process. Etc. etc.
A mix of these strategies have been used, whether the community is aware of it or not. A local organization held a screening of the documentary “Farmageddon.” Articles have been published about the issue in every local publication, as well as on independent blogs. Speeches have been made in public venues. Organizations have gathered to host classes about gardening. The online petition on Change.org has reached over 10,000 signatures and national attention. Something, it seems, is working–because a large portion of the community is invested in the cause.
I like this quote by Fritjof Capra that is included in the Wikipedia article: “In the coming decades, the survival of humanity will depend on our ecological literacy – our ability to understand the basic principles of ecology and to live accordingly. This means that ecoliteracy must become a critical skill for politicians, business leaders, and professionals in all spheres, and should be the most important part of education at all levels – from primary and secondary schools to colleges, universities, and the continuing education and training of professionals.”
I’ve read some of Capra’s work that I’ll go into depth about at another time but I like his interpretation of literacy as a community endeavor. Positive change happens when the public is literate–when they understand the implications of ideas that aren’t working but are armed with solutions, supported by research and evidence.