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paris-france

Here is a collection of pictures from my first trip to France (the one in Europe).  Marine (who is French from France not Canada) and I traveled together.  We were in Praz-De-Lys for 7 days (March 7th to the morning of the 14th), then spent two days in Paris (March 14th and 15th).  A shout out to Marine’s mother Suzanne for hooking us up with her superb Air France connection, making it possible for us to travel in a more bourgeoise fashion than usual.

We traveled from New York City (our home) to the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, then off to the Geneva Cointrin International Airport, next a bus to Taninges, then a cab to Praz-De-Lys, France. It took over 24 hours to complete the trip (March 6th).

We slept most of Saturday and Sunday we truly began our snowy, winter wonderland trip in the French Alps. A week later,  we flew to Paris to spend our last two days in France. It was awesome. :]

Here is the link again of this amazingly fresh vacation.

-Cara

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Veja is a Paris-based company producing shoes in Brazil. I love the look of their shoes. They are fairly traded and organic. These shoes are made from natural latex rubber, vegetable-tanned leather and organic cotton. They use wild rubber trees that are only found in the Amazon, by supporting wild latex production they help prevent deforestation in this region. Veja also supports two cooperatives of small organic cotton producers.

If you’re in NYC, LA or Pittsburgh you can find them in these stores:

– Takashimaya NYC, 693 5th Avenue, New York
– Ekovaruhuset, 123 Ludlow Street, New York
– American Rag, 160 S. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles
– Equita, 100 43rd st. Suite 114, Ice Factory, Pittsburgh

My favorite are the organic cotton Veja Tauá collection.

That’s all.

-Cara

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.

-Cara


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.

Beauty you see in art is as important as beauty you see in nature. A connection to either beauty inspires. These paintings are by Romaine Brooks a painter who moves me. I think she did her most amazing work from 1920 through 1924, painting portraits of women in blacks and grays. Brooks’ story reminds me that you may not know it at the time, but amazing things may be around the corner, you just need to get there.

Who inspires you?

-Cara

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Reason 67 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
Most of America’s cows are not “Happy Cows,” in spite of what the California Milk Advisory Board might say in its nationally televised commercials. Many cows in the Western state spend their lives negotiating bogs of their own feces and urine. Elsewhere, they may be tethered at stanchions. All are inseminated annually to keep them lactating, and many regularly suffer painful udder infections. Thanks to calcium depletion and foot infections, slaughter occurs after only three or four lactation periods. The CMAB is a government agency and so is not subject to false-advertising laws.

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