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Let’s use this Democracy we are so blessed to have. It will work if you work! Sign this petition that Care2.com hosts, urging the U.S. Senate to pass strong legislation that will lift this $75 “chump change” million dollar cap, and make BP and other multi-billion dollar polluters responsible for the damages their disasters have on our communities, environment and shared resources. Stand up and be counted.
Target: U.S. Senate
Sponsored by: Food and Water Watch
Fishing boats are docked, seafood prices are skyrocketing and oil is still washing up on the shores throughout the Gulf of Mexico. We may not know the full impact of the BP oil rig explosion, yet one thing is clear: the oil spill is BP’s fault and they should pay for the harm they’re causing.
The current law puts a $75 million cap on how much an oil company has to pay in the event of a disaster. Unfortunately, the fishing communities, restaurant owners, tourism industry and other individuals affected by the oil spill have already lost more.
Urge the U.S. Senate to pass strong legislation that will lift this cap, and make BP and other multi-billion dollar polluters responsible for the damages their disasters have on our communities, environment and shared resources.
This might not seem like a green issue to some, but I think it is, and since I am the master of my domain…
I dread having to go to these weather web sites, for instance, The Weather Channel’s site or any of the multitudes of corporate and news media’s fugly sites. Not only are they far from being aesthetically pleasing, they’re saturated with millions of dollars worth of unsustainable product advertising.
I might not trust the government on much, but in the case of weather, I have a feeling they are telling the truth, at least to the best of their abilities.
For people who want to know the weather free of blinking, annoying, unsustainable advertising, may the American Government and I present to you the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service’s web site. It might not be fancy, but you’ll get what you came for.
See you can find good in everything.
On our way to Connecticut’s Stonehenge, Marine and I passed an amazing solar powered house in the middle of a wildflower field, while in Sachem Head, CT. One of the best parts of road trips I think is finding these types of hidden places. Marine threw the car into reverse, and I snapped some quick pics. Here they are for your viewing pleasure.
There were these cool bird houses that seemed to grow out of the flowers, one of the houses I saw had the word “VIEW” etched on it. It makes me wonder, with all this crazy art and such, maybe I have stumble upon an alien colony right here in Connecticut. Someone call Art Bell!
It turns out that it is not a house, but an art studio and garage, built by Eileen Eder, a local artist, and her husband, Andrew, located in the back of their house (which I never noticed). The two completed this barn like studio in November of 2007. It looks like a crazy sort of dark, futuristic barn in the middle of a wild field.
According to Solar Connecticut’s web site, the solar panels were installed on the studio’s 60-foot long roof by Aegis Electrical System of Branford. If you’d like to read more about the studio’s solar set-up click here.
It really is beautiful.
In July I wrote an entry about Manhattanhenge. It is a time when the whole of Manhattan becomes its own Stonehenge. You can read more about it here. Marine and I went to check it out on July 11th and I took these pictures around 45th and 6th in Manhattan. A hundred years later, I have finally cleaned up the shots and put them up on my Flickr. Enjoy the miracle of Manhattanhenge through my eyes.
Look to the sun.
[Perched over 42nd Street, NOVA scienceNOW host Neil deGrasse Tyson is eager to show you his hometown’s own version of a Stonehenge magic moment.]
Manhattanhedge, why has a super nerd like me not heard about this occurrence till now (thank you Jorge Hernandez)? It happens twice a year over a course of 2 days. The setting sun aligns perfectly with Manhattan’s city grid of streets. A bit before 8PM on May 29th and 30th in 2008, a ray of sun shoots across the island along Manhattan’s east-west corridors. It lasts until the sun disappears from the sky over New Jersey.
The one we can still catch this year occurs on July 11th and 12th, around 8:25pm. If Manhattan’s grid had been built aligned on the geographic north-south line, then the days of Manhattanhenge would be the spring and fall equinoxes. It occurs on other dates because Manhattan’s street grid is rotated 30 degrees east from geographic north (This last bit of information I learned thanks to Channel 13/WNET).
A bit of trivia you may need in the future, Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson (host of Nova’s ScienceNow), the guy on the video above coined the term Manhattanhedge. You never know around here when that may come up in local bar trivia. :)
Look to the sun.
Today I feel stuck. I am not really inspired by anything and have no idea what to write about. I think I am just in a funky mood. I hate it when I don’t already have an idea of what I want to write. I guess maybe I’ll do a search online and put in ecology or green or I don’t know what…I’ll be back.
OK, I think I figured out what my problem is. I spend a lot of time writing blog entries on what we as humans are doing wrong and what we can and need to do to make the world a better place. I write everyday about it and I just need to lighten it up a bit now and again. I mean even the game this last Sunday was depressing. Today I am just going to go over some interesting and nerdy facts about this amazing planet we live on. I hope you enjoy.
Ten Earth Facts
- The Earth is about 4.54 Billion years old.
- Earth’s location in the Solar System is on the outer edge of the Milky Way, about 28,000 light years from the galactic center (Source: European Space Agency). It takes the solar system 225 million years to make one full trip around the Milky Way.
- Earth’s Sun is a medium sized, yellow star. Scientists call it a G2 star. It is the largest object in the solar system and contains 99.8 percent of the solar system’s mass. It is located in the center of the solar system (and it is super hot!).
- It takes Earth 365.2422 days to orbit the sun. This is the basis for the year.
- Rotational Speed is about 1,070 miles per hour at the equator (That is super fast!).
- It takes the Earth 23 hours, 56 minutes and four (4) seconds to make one complete 360° rotation (so what happens to those 3 minutes and 56 seconds everyday? How old am I really?).
- Earth’s Weight (Mass) is 5.972 sextillion (1,000 trillion) metric tons. That’s 5,972,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons! Actually, scientists prefer to refer to this measurement as the Earth’s mass instead of weight since weight is the result of Earth’s gravitational pull on another object. And the Earth cannot pull on itself! As the Earth orbits the Sun, it is weightless. If the Earth were placed on the Sun, it would weigh more than if it were placed on Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system but much smaller than the sun. Yet, Earth (or any other object for that matter) would have the same mass regardless of where it is located. (Earth is a fatty.) :]
- 70.8% of Earth is covered by water, and 29.2 % is covered by land. (The ocean really is Earth’s final frontier. There is miles of unexplored world underwater, including miles of caves and the like.)
- The highest point on Earth is 29,028 feet above sea level, Mount Everest, formed 60 million years ago, located on the border of Tibet and Nepal in the Central Himalayas in southeast Asia.
- The lowest point (on Land) 1,320 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea, located on the border between Israel and the West Bank to the west and Jordan to the east. It is so salty — the saltiest on Earth — that it is unable to support any type of life.
I feel better now. It is information that even if you already know it, maybe you haven’t thought about it lately and how amazing this super fresh planet really is, so let’s take care of her.
Earth is awesome.
Reason 94 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
To a great extent, it’s the highenergy starch of corn feed that makes beef cattle grow to slaughter weight so quickly—14 to 16 months today, versus the traditional 4 to 5 years on grass (see #46). In terms of energy concentration, today’s feed has been compared to Snickers bars. As a consequence, feedlot manure is too nitrogen rich to be used as fertilizer. And it is so laced with hormones and other pharmaceuticals that fish downstream downstream can be found with strange sexual characteristics.
People might be getting annoyed with my solar power obsession, but I could not pass this one up when I found it earlier this week. It is the LightCap 200!!!
This small, lightweight (just 2.6oz) cap fits on any ‘standard’ water bottle (2” wide mouth) such as Nalgene®, Camelbak®, GSI® and most others, turning your bottle into a solar-powered lantern. With clean, green solar energy powering your lantern there are no more burned out batteries to worry about or replace (adding to our already toxic landfills).
I love it! You can put colored water in them as well….super fresh!
Next we have Wola Nani Papier Mache Bowls, which are made by women living with HIV/AIDS. In Xhosa, Wola Nani means ” we embrace and develop each other.” These eye-catching bowls are made of papier mache using over-prints from canning factories in Cape Town. You can use them to put your keys in, mail, etc and it supports a great cause. You will also have a story to tell people when they comment to you how beautiful and interesting it is. It is not meant for food storage or eating purposes, so don’t eat out of it.
Last but not least is the Aptera a high-efficiency vehicle currently in development by Aptera Motors, Inc. They claim fuel efficiency of 230 mpg at 55 mph, which would make it one of the most fuel-efficient cars in the world. Because the Type-1 has only three wheels two in front and a single drive wheel in the rear, most states in the United States would classify the vehicle as a motorcycle. Design elements such as recessed windshield wipers and rear-view cameras instead of mirrors contribute to the low aerodynamic drag. According to the pre-order page, Aptera Motors has set the price at $26,900 for a an electric version with a 120-mile range, and $29,900 for the diesel-electrical series hybrid. If you want to learn more check out their site.
Reason 84 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
In America, essentially all farmed animals will be trucked around at least once in their lives. Filthy, crowded, cramped, noisy, and terrifying conditions over extended periods are the norm. Truckers may legally deny the animals food and water for up to 36 hours. And such “protections” do not apply to poultry. Many animals are traded internationally. About 4 million live sheep are transported from Australia to the Middle East every year where Islamic law dictates throats be slit without stunning. In one recent year, a ship full of 58,000 sheep was rejected because of widespread infection. Before finding an import destination, nearly a tenth died.
The history of solar power is of interest to me, because again for some reason I have an innate interest in all things solar. In this entry I wrote about some of the forefathers of the solar power movement and in future entries I will bring us up to the present time.
Humans and the earth have used the sun as some sort of energy source since the beginning of time, but it was not until 1838 that Edmund Becquerel observed and published findings about the nature of certain materials to turn light into energy. This in itself did not really create much commotion, but it did bring the thought of harnessing the sun’s energy source to people’s mind.
Thirty years later between 1860 and 1881, Auguste Mouchout, a mathematics instructor at the Lyce de Tours, became the first man to patent a design for a motor running on solar energy. This invention was born out of his his concerns over his country’s dependence on coal. “It would be prudent and wise not to fall asleep regarding this quasi-security,” he wrote. “Eventually industry will no longer find in Europe the resources to satisfy its prodigious expansion. Coal will undoubtedly be used up. What will industry do then?” Well we know what they do, they discover other nonrenewable sources of energy like oil and natural gas to use up, and once that is gone then will we turn to sun and wind for our main source of energy? The issue “they” see with that is they have not figured out a way to turn an obscenely grandiose profit off the sun and air, but I would not worry too much as I am sure General Electric is working on buying the sun as we speak.
Anyway, Mouchout received funds from the French Emperor Napoleon III and with those funds he designed a device that turned solar energy into mechanical steam power and soon operated the first steam engine. He later connected the steam engine to a refrigeration device, illustrating that the sun’s rays can be utilized to make ice, for which he was awarded an awesome French Medal of Super Freshness [I tried to discover, briefly, what medal it was he won, but to no avail, so yes I did invent the French medal of Super Freshness incase you weren’t sure.]!
Unfortunately, his groundbreaking research was cut short. The French renegotiated a cheaper deal with England for the supply of coal and improved their transportation system for the delivery thereof. Mouchout’s work towards finding an alternative source of energy was not considered a priority anymore and he no longer received any funding from the Napoleon V3 [ah, isn’t that the way things go?].
I will end our solar history lesson there for today and hope you have enjoyed it so far, more to follow!
Let the sun shine in.
Reason 80 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
In the early twentieth century man learned how to extract nitrogen (fertilizer) from the air, cheaply and in large quantities. The discovery ultimately allowed 2 billion more people to inhabit the Earth and has given humans the luxury of feeding crops to livestock. Yet what gives the world abundance has, by way of nutrient runoff and acid rain, poisoned waterways from the Chinese countryside to the Ohio Valley. (Excess nitrogen promotes algae growth, robbing the water of oxygen.) In North America and Europe, lakes and rivers contain 20 times the nitrogen they did before the Industrial Revolution.