Tuesday, June 26, 2007

When Sturgeons Attack!

I just have to pull this quote out from a NatGeo article about sturgeon attacks from 2002:

Last summer, at least four people were injured when the fish with prehistoric roots leapt out of the water and crashed into them.

The injuries were not minor; they included concussions, broken ribs and sternum, a collapsed lung, cracked teeth, and gashes requiring stitches.

Still, biologists laugh at the media's characterization of the incidents as "attacks."

"This fish is a living dinosaur," said Frank Parauka, a fish biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "It's a really docile fish, easily exploited."

That's what they want you to think! How else did they survive to threaten the top of the food chain? Surely not their nearly impenetrable, hard, armor-like plates!

And this year there have been more attacks in our part of the world -- a woman was taken to the hospital last week with non life-threatening injuries after being jumped by a sturgeon along the Suwannee, and in April a St. Petersburg woman riding a personal water craft was attacked --she had to have 3 fingers reattached and still lost her pinky! I wasn't sure what a "personal water craft" was so I looked it up -- it's like a water ski. God, I hate those things. I'm sure sturgeon hate them even more.

Friday, June 22, 2007

100 Mile Diet

Once again, my compatriot "B" has given me yet another tip -- I'm like, "geez, do I find any of the cool stuff on my own?" The 100 Mile Diet is basically what it sounds like, making up what you eat from the resources within 100 miles of your town. Makes sense, doesn't it? When you think of how much crap we buy from far off lands and all the resources we use up just getting these items to our nation's supermarkets and grocery stores, it makes economic and environmental sense to purchase things from local growers. But not just veggies, also things like eggs, milk, and beef are also available in our area, you just have to look for it. "B," for example, has got a resource for buffalo meat and eggs and DG, as you know, doesn't set foot in the supermarket so she has located a lot these resources on her own, as well. Locally, our community has recently set up a Foodshed resource which gives you all of the information you need to shop for local and eat out local, too. When I find our more about the foodshed I'll blog about that, too.

Oh, and here's the link to the original post on long-traveling food sources.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More about that Josh Wolf

I got to thinking about that little anarcho-journalist last night when I saw him on a recent Stephen Colbert (my mother-in-law, if I haven't said this before, is a saint and tapes Daily Show and Colbert for us). I'm glad he's out of jail, and this throwing journalists in jail pastime has really got to stop.

Here's the link to the original post on Josh Wolf and here's a recent interview with Wolf on Frontline. I'm hesitant to link to my original post because I was really, really ranting there. Ah memories...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Footprints in the sand...

How big an environmental footprint are you making? I wanted to find out so took myself web-wise to Earthday Network where they have an Ecological Footprint Quiz. I took it a couple of years ago while taking a class about radical environmentalism and was kind of shocked at how much I was consuming -- but, of course, I forgot what my impact was at the time so I took it again. And, once again, I am horrified. Here are the results:


FOOD 3.5




It looks more impressive in the HTML version because they actually show the 2.9 planets we would apparently need if everyone lived like me.
Swiped the graphic from Redifining Progress

Crimson and Clover, over and over...

We have a typical concrete block house with a typical yard and all its foibles. One of these foibles is the fact that our lawn mostly consists of weeds, a few patches of grass, and a series of dirt islands. Being in the middle of a drought cycle you don't want to be one of those people who water their yards endlessly, but you would like to have a nice consistency of green in your yard. During my yearly yard weeding I took a step back and sighed, thinking (as I do each time this year) that maybe, just maybe, we could have a real lawn with the rain we've been getting lately. One problem is we have too much shade but the real problem is we just don't care.

I just put a copy of Gimme Green on hold at the library. It takes a humorous look at how lawns have become a huge industry, especially in Florida where you can't throw a rock without hitting a PGA golf course.

An option I've been looking at lately is growing a clover lawn. "B" was the originator of this germ of an idea in my head, and apparently many others have looked at growing clover lawns as a viable alternative. As this About.com article on the subject states, clover can bring nitrogen to your soil, you don't have to fertilize it, and it is able to access ground water more easily because of deep roots, meaning that watering becomes a non issue.

Here's another article on same from Holistic Bird Newsletter and here is a how-to from wikiHow.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

omg...a sandal made from old tires

Am I just completely insane? I felt this rush (I don't how else to describe it) when I saw this link on how to construct your own sandals made from old tires. Maybe it's the slight amount of caffeine flowing in my bloodstream (I'm trying to cut it out completely), or maybe it's the craftsperson itching to get into some project. It has the pattern and a how-to. At the bottom is a really interesting letter by a guy who was growing up in Germany in the aftermath of WWII, and said that he and his friends made this kind of sandal because they couldn't buy real shoes. The Hollowtop website seems like a great resource and will have to explore it further.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Go Solar!

Dang it! I keep talking about things to buy! But I ran across this website looking for a small solar panel so me and DJ could do some expery-ments. Sundance Solar is a business that deals just with solar-based products, and I was fascinated with the relatively inexpensive battery chargers for cell phones and digital camera batteries. They even sell a backpack that has solar panels on the back so you can recharge stuff on the commute to work! Amazing!

Here is an article from UPI on how India is installing solar traffic lights.

Got the above images from peaceproject.org

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Gee, your hair smells terrific -- like pickles!

Hi, I'm sitting at the ref desk, about to go on my nightly round of picking up before closing and wanted to comment briefly on washing my hair with baking soda and vinegar.

The first time I washed it this new way it came out looking kind of limp and oily -- it felt clean but looked dull. So, today was day 2 and we were going out with the folks for Father's Day and I decided to try washing it again. This time I enlisted DJ's help to give him some measuring experience (and to get him out of the old man's hair while he tried to listen to his favorite cop radio show). Did everything I did the last time except I rinsed after the vinegar rinse. I think that made a big difference. My hair totally bounced back and looked shiny, curly, and not frizzy. It also added about another gallon to my overall water usage (about 2 gallons for the whole process), but it's still not too bad.

Overall, I think it was a big success. I keep worrying, however, that it's going to take the color out of my hair and Nancy, my hair guru, is going to have a fit.

Friday, June 15, 2007

No more tears because no more shamps!

Righ now I'm experimenting with using no shampoos. DG and I were discussing baking soda and vinegar on your hair instead of shampoo. With DJ (Dude Junior) at the g'rents for a visit today I thought I'd give it a try (and if I didn't have a child, who knows what fool things I would attempt on my own).

I googled "washing hair with baking soda and vinegar" and the top link, a blog called farmlet.co.nz, was probably the most helpful. I followed their directions using baking soda first and then an apple cider vinegar rinse and, well, my hair is taking about an hour to dry so I can't really say if it's working. I closed the drain in the tub so I could guestimate how much water I would be using for the whole wash (it came to roughly one gallon) and the the thing I noticed that the rinse water after applying the baking soda paste to my scalp was really icky. No, I mean REALLY icky. And not just baking soda and water icky. Okay, I've made my point. The vinegar wash was fine and not too stinky -- I actually don't mind the smell of vinegar.

Here is a webessay about the process.

Well, my hair's dried a little more and it seems a bit dull. Well, I'll keep doing it and see what happens.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

JanSport rocks

Like I said in the previous post, I really don't like hawking products but I really got to just pause to praise JanSport. JanSport backpacks are reasonably priced and they have the added advantage of coming with a lifetime warranty if they break during normal usage. Twice (for two different packs) I've had to call upon JanSport to make good on their warranty and I'm here to tell you-- folks, they came through. The first time was with my briefcase/messenger bag that I've had for years and the side pouch zipper got all funky. I sent it to them and within two weeks they had sent it back with not only the side pouch zipper fixed, but a new main compartment zipper and new zipper pulls for both. The second time happened with a pack I bought but then never used and passed onto a friend who wore the hell out of it until there was a huge hole on the right. I sent that one to JanSport and they said they couldn't fix it but then replaced it with a brand new pack that was even bigger!

Arm & Hammer Essentials Laundry Detergent

I don't like promoting products (and you're going to totally think I'm a hypocrite when I blog about Jansport in a minute), but I've been using a new Arm & Hammer product called Essentials Laundry Detergent. Arm & Hammer has always seemed, to me, to be the sane alternative to spending a ton of money on Seventh Generation detergent or some of the other "green" products on the market right now. And it has none of the crap in the maintstream detergents, i.e. no petroleum-based cleaners. This picture, by the way, is the only one I could swipe from the A & H site -- the Essentials bottle is a translucent green plastic with a dark green top.

Here's a link to a thread on Mothering.com about the product. The thing that the users on this thread complained about was the overpowering smell -- after using Purex for a long time I'm pretty used to strong, perfumy detergent smells -- and it does have a strong smell that sticks to clothes even after they come out of the dryer, which is something that hardly ever happens. I suppose the people at Church & Dwight will take this hint and start providing a non-scented version.