Useful things to know …
The safest place to sit in a commercial airplane is in the back.

Be good to planet Earth. It’s the only home you have …
Why everyone should plant trees + ten more reasons
2002 study: Green walkways extend human lifespans
Trees are Earth's lungs: each tree removes 48 pounds of carbon dioxide annually
One tree reduces water runoff (leading to soil erosion and flooding) by 4,000 gallons annually
Trees add 3–7 percent to property value
Three shade trees can reduce air conditioning bills up to 30 percent
Urban canopy goal: 40 percent
Give trees as inexpensive yet meaningful gifts
A tree-planting guide + another guide + where to plant and not plant trees around the home
Tree selection with images and description
The online version of this classic book: The Simple Act of Planting a Tree
How to avoid landscape design mistakes
Celebrate Arbor Day and Earth Day
How to certify a community as Tree City USA (See years certified for all USA cities.)
A tale of two urban forests (with similar human populations): Pittsburgh with 31,500 street trees versus Minneapolis with 250,000 street trees.

What does it take to become a green city? The top 10 green cities in America. A personal criteria for green: aesthetics (zero litter, architecture and landscaping as public works of art); 100% clean air, soil and water; conservation and large-scale recycling (not just by consumers, but industry); healthy lifestyle planning (pedestrian and bike pathways, recreation outlets/centers); plentiful xeriscape parks, trees and gardens; farm preservation/urban sprawl policies; functional mass transit; auto traffic coordination (to reduce emissions and conserve fuel consumption), etc.

Besides hybrids, another alternative to all-gasoline autos: biodiesel, especially vegetable oil diesel
(What could be next, the veggie diesel/electric hybrid? Imagine the fuel savings and cleaner air if city and school buses were converted to veggie diesel immediately, then veggie diesel/electric hybrids in the long run. Interestingly enough, groundwork has been laid in Pittsburgh. Even more interestingly, the initial groundwork was laid out in 1900 by the inventor of the diesel engine and realized by Brazil in 1979.)

Where to recycle nonworking computers, electronics and other items

America’s health crisis …
Despite its significant health care spending lead, the US is significantly behind other Western countries on primary health care.

No surprise: It is now confirmed by a 2008 study that cancer diagnosis in the latter stages is linked to lack of insurance: one very real story.

Over 46 million Americans are without health insurance (US Census Bureau). And the number is increasing. Job-based health insurance fell for the fifth consecutive year. Study finds 90 percent of workers are denied coverage or cannot afford it.

Three partial solutions:

Fee-based walk-in health care without insurance: Family Medical (Missouri), MedXpress (Texas), RediClinic (Midwest and New York), QuickHealth (California)

Regardless of ability to pay: East End Community Health Center (Pittsburgh), Mercy Health Center (Pittsburgh), The Clinic (Phoenixville, Pennsylvania)

On-site homeless health care: Street Medicine, Operation Safety Net (Pittsburgh)

And one comprehensive solution: The same health program that members of Congress enjoy.

America’s other health crisis …
Over 65% of Americans are overweight (BMI over 25%); if unchecked, growing to 75% by 2015.

What is the problem with excess weight?
Obesity overtakes smoking as the leading cause of death in the US.
Obesity is linked with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure (140/90 or higher), breast and colon cancer, and gallbladder disease.
Heavy people’s brains may age faster.

The solution? Eat less (and smarter), exercise more. Type 2 diabetes is preventable.

How independent-thinking are we, really?
The Stanford prison experiment
The obedience to authority experiment
The framing effect study + Irrational decisions driven by emotions (press release) + full text, $10
Other coverage: The emotional brain + Emotions fuel irrational acts

Organizations that support creativity/innovation …
MacArthur Foundation Genius Award recipients (MacArthur Fellows)

Useful news …
Produce with ripeness stickers to be on shelves in 2007 [Update: Not yet on shelves.]
Vegan diet best therapy for type 2 diabetes + press release
Google makes available free to download in PDF format books in the public domain
Pittsburgh launches free Wi-Fi

Historic news …
Cancer treatment breakthrough triggers apoptosis in cancer cells. Prediction: As significant of a development as the 1971 announcement of the microprocessor. Actually, more. Full article available from Nature Chemical Biology magazine; fee or subscription required.

Planets now eight, not nine (nor is Pluto the first former planet); almost became twelve or 53 (possibly more). Here is the new line up. Background and explanation from the co-discoverer of Eris (originally Xena), the almost tenth planet. Also, fun and enlightening reading on misconceptions in astronomy.

Microchips make the leap to optical technology, speeding processing a thousand times. May be commercial by 2011. Details from collaborators Intel and UCSB.

Bad policies revealed …
Government Accounting Office concludes $1.4 billion anti-drug campaign since 1998 is a failure

The Walls Tumbled by Time: From China to Berlin, Fences Have Failed to Exclude or Contain

What we don’t know about the music around us …
Traditional music is the well-spring of other forms of music, yet it is not a category you will find at iTunes, Amazon, Borders and other music resellers. Fortunately, it is recognized by The Library of Congress.

Personal …

Recommended reading + links
Favorite quotes
A truly insightlful, inspiring commencement address
How to make a living via the Internet
Where to find cask-conditioned ale in North America + a few places that brew them
Everything in perspective
One family’s genealogy

home : opinion | contact | site map 2005. All rights reserved. Friday, July 23, 2021, 09:09 PM