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November 30, 2010

Red/Blue America

The usual voting maps go only to the county level, which is pretty crude. But not this Isarithmic History of the Two-Party Presidential Vote - 1920 to 2008.

| permalink | November 30, 2010 at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

Art At The Welland Seaway Mall

Specifically, in the food court.

Filed under Music | permalink | November 30, 2010 at 10:40 PM | Comments (1)

Shulman Home Closes For $2.25 Million

Shulman House 10-10-10 (7707A)

The Laurel Canyon house designed by Raphael Soriano sold for only $245,000 below the December 2009 asking price. The new owners do not plan to make major changes.

Filed under Architecture,Photography | permalink | November 30, 2010 at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)

Burning Man Clean-Up Playa Restoration

Here's a long-ish article by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, a virgin Burner, about his first visit to Burning Man. His main focus is on the clean-up playa restoration efforts, but there's a lot of other info too. His bio: "Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor of WorldSweeper.com, is a Masters-level economist with over 20 years of reporting on the power sweeping industry. He is the world's most prolific investigative reporter on the topic of power sweeping and has won numerous writing awards over the last two decades. [He] has over 30 years of experience in providing a variety of consulting services to the business community. He is the author of the award-winning book 'The Rise of BioDiesel,' and co-author of a recently released book on socio-economics entitled 'The Great Prosperity of 2020.'"

Because Burning Man is known as the most successful cleanup and restoration of any United States event monitored by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), I have long had a professional interest in seeing how it's done in person. You see, not only are 50,000+ people camped for a week with no food or other items being bought or sold; even more astonishing, no trash disposal whatsoever is provided or available.
With a scant 72 hours notice I received an opportunity to attend Burning Man this past Labor Day when my friend Tom, who is a Seattle Fire Chief, was unable to go at the last moment. As an added enticement for a 'newbie' like me, Tom was still able to arrange for our four-person group to be able to be part of the camp of the fire department personnel in charge of fire safety. It was an opportunity I simply could not pass up. However, those three days of preparation were some of the most intense I've experienced. Yet they would soon be eclipsed by the event itself.

He camped with the Volunteer Fire Department enclave. As a special treat, available only to virgin Burners, he was allowed to help prepare two meals a day for the fire department. For this privilege he only had to pay $75 additional. Tom Sawyer lives!

He provides a link to the 2009 Burning Man finances which I had never noticed before. Total expenditures for 2009 came to $12,317,000. The attendance in 2009 was 43,558. 43,558 gazinta $12,317,000 282.77 times. Ticket prices for Burning Man range from $210 to $300, or $360 if you buy at the gate. Only about $300,000 is used to subsidize the art. Over $1 million goes to BLM. Law enforcement costs $304,000. $919,000 goes to taxes and licensing fees. Toilets cost $661,000.

And then he gets to the clean-up playa restoration.

Although zero debris left behind by all is the goal, that is, of course, not actually 100% attainable. I set out to find out if there was an established benchmark of allowable debris an annual theme camp was allowed to leave and still pass inspection. What I learned during my investigation was astonishing: The debris left behind per acre by any of the many theme camps could not exceed what would fit onto a 9-inch paper plate!

Large scale burns sit atop a metal barrier covered with "a locally available decomposed granite-based product." After the burn, that's cleaned away so that no burn scar remains.

There is an aluminum can recycling facility (which I have never taken advantage of). He includes a video:

This year's MOOP map is available (click for full infographic).
2010 MOOP map
It shows that our camp was both yellow (average) and green (as close to "no trace" as humanly possible).

The Restoration Team is about 85 people who stay to return the playa to its pristine status.

To accomplish its goal, the Restoration Team is separated into two components. One group, called "The Line," sweep the city from end to end in grid formation. If the Line Sweep Team finds an area that is excessively problematic, they designate the area as a "hot spot," mark it with a cone and continue moving forward. The second group, called "The Cone-Killers," concentrate their efforts on cleaning up and restoring all of the problematic hot spots, such as burn scars, broken glass, fireworks debris, oil spills, grey water spills, etc. Using landscape rakes, shovels, magnet sweepers and their bare hands, they work until the hot spot is cleared spotless and the cone can be removed, aka "the cone is killed."

The article includes an audio recording of an interview with Dominic "D.A." Tinio who is Playa Restoration Manager for Burning Man.

Filed under Burning Man | permalink | November 30, 2010 at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

Comments On The Rice Solar Project

Energy Commission Staff comments on the Presiding Member's Proposed Decision for the Rice Solar Energy Project have been made available on the Energy Commission's website. Staff, we read, strongly disagree with the PMPD which says that the proposed Rice Solar Project would not create significant visual impact. They say the daytime glow of the tower will be one-quarter to one-half as bright as the sun, and that since this is going to be along a scenic wilderness highway that constitutes a significant visual impact. It takes them 10 pages to say that, but that's what it boils down to.

Staff also wants the requirement for a full scale highway rest stop reduced to a "historic interpretive roadside stop" with parking, an information kiosk and a trash can. IOW, it'll be the same as those signs you see when entering a BLM area, except there will also be a trash can. Requirements for the documentary film and pamphlet remain unchanged.

Filed under California | permalink | November 30, 2010 at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)

Satellites Three

Filed under Science,Technology | permalink | November 30, 2010 at 01:39 PM | Comments (0)

Those Damn Routers Are Going To Deforest The Entire Planet!

In the most thoroughly verified, triple-blind, absolute fact-finding study ever conducted in the history of humanity, it has been proven that wi-fi is harming "all deciduous trees in the Western world." Naturally, we all want to know what's different about Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian and even Siberian wi-fi that it will permit those parts of the world to remain lush and green, while Europe and all of the Americas will be made to look like the Coachella Valley on a dry day.

The study, which is above criticism, put a wi-fi "radio" close to 20 ash trees for three months. The upper and lower epidermis on the leaves of those trees died. Also, the growth of corn cobs was inhibited. Well, if they were looking for corn cobs on the ash trees, I guess the logical conclusion was that their growth had been inhibited. The study also found that wi-fi radiation causes "bleeding" in trees. Well, there's your problem. Somebody put blood in the trees. That can't be good for them.

"The researchers urged that further studies were needed to confirm the current results and determine long-term effects of wireless radiation on trees." I think that was mistranslated from the original Dutch which actually said something like "the researchers would like lifetime tenure so they can live comfortably while putting wi-fi routers close to trees, preferably in places that are very nice to visit, starting with carnival in Rio - there must be a lot of wi-fi there and the Amazon forest has to be protected."

Filed under Science | permalink | November 30, 2010 at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

"Path To Freedom"

Path to Freedom

Pioneering a journey towards self-sufficiency, one step at a time

Founder of the worldwide Urban Homesteading movement, Jules Dervaes, visits the Coachella Valley Sunday, December 12th at 11:00 AM at the Palm Springs High School Auditorium. California State Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez will be on hand to welcome Mr. Dervaes, who will speak and show his family's short film, Homegrown Revolution. Jules Dervaes is the founder of the modern urban homestead movement which began at Path to Freedom in 2001 in Pasadena, California. Their family-operated, viable urban homestead project was established to promote a simpler and more fulfilling lifestyle, and to sow a "homegrown revolution" against the corporate powers that control the food supply. Palm Springs High School faculty and students who are members of the PSUSD Organic Garden club will also make a presentation on their project after the film. The first half of the event is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit http://desertecoevents.org.

Following the film and discussion, there will be an organic early supper benefiting the Palm Springs Unified School District's organic gardening projects. Individual tickets are $35. Students volunteering to help set up and serve the meals will eat free. Tickets are available online at www.desertecoevents.org and through various PSHS student groups. The organic banquet will be catered by Palm Greens Café, and the fresh produce is being provided by County Line Harvest. Student members of the PSHS organic garden club will help serve the feast. The City of Palm Springs' Office of Sustainability helped make this event possible through their generous support.

In his presentation illustrated with stunning photos of his Pasadena urban homestead, Jules Dervaes will share the steps individuals can take, where they are and with what they have, to become self-sufficient and live as responsible stewards of the earth.

This program will include a screening of the family's popular, multi award-winning documentary Homegrown Revolution, which was produced in-house as a short film to introduce their urban homestead and explain the steps and brief history of its creation and share their struggles, joys, defeats, and successes on this pioneering journey. This highly acclaimed film is being shown at film festivals around the world. Mr. Dervaes and his family have been the subject of numerous articles in newspapers and magazines worldwide, including the New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Mother Earth News, Telegraph Magazine (U.K.), the Times of India and FAZ [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung?], and were recently featured on ABC's Nightline, CNN, Sundance Channel, and Food Network. Mr. Dervaes is a sought-after speaker on a wide variety of topics related to urban homesteading and pressing environmental issues. Clips from the film were featured on Oprah's Earth Day 2009 special.

"So we figure we're preparing ourselves to live simply. If you look around, you'll see riches here but it's in the form of tomatoes and peppers and animals. So we're going backwards, and I say a step backwards is progress." JULES DERVAES

Since the mid 1980's he and his three children have been on a journey -- a path to freedom -- to live and eat off the grid. After 20 years of trial and error, they have become so successful that they now produce nearly three tons of organic food a year from their fifth-of-an-acre property. Along with other rather unusual suburban features, such as a mini farmyard with goats, chickens, ducks and bees and a hand powered washing machine, their urban homestead is only a 15-minute drive from downtown L.A.

Sponsoring organizations: Desert EcoEvents and Palm Springs Green Scene.

Filed under Coachella Valley | permalink | November 30, 2010 at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)

30 Days To Go

All Kodachrome processing will cease in 30 days. Here's the slide film processing order form for Dwayne's.

Ancient Bristlecone Pine, White Mountains, California
Ancient bristlecone pine
, photographed on Kodachrome by Norbert Meissner

Filed under Photography | permalink | November 30, 2010 at 06:45 AM | Comments (0)

Smog Eating Tile

(via Clean Cities Coachella Valley Region - Information Exchange)

Filed under Architecture,Technology | permalink | November 30, 2010 at 06:34 AM | Comments (0)