I read voraciously as a child. I stumbled across Arcology: The City in the Image of Man in the library some time in the late 1970s, and it made a huge impression on me. I immediately created some imaginary worlds for people to live in within these immense structures. I have been thinking about the cyberpunk genre recently, in large part because of some conversations with Chris Helton. I made an offhand comment about cyberpunk being the 2020s as imagined by the 1980s, but really, I think cyberpunk has its roots even earlier, in the work of Paolo Soleri and Samuel Delany (Babel 17, Dhalgren).
I have been so busy with the house fiasco and work, I haven’t been feeding my fish as often as I should. Two of my larger fish are missing, and there are suspicious remains in the back of the aquarium. Apparently, even a normally placid fish will eat its brethren when it gets hungry enough.
They are the 99%.
I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.
You might think this is just an ordinary plastic travel mug. Au contraire! This mug is special. This mug is made from corn.
Susan works in the environmental field. From lead and asbestos, to recycling and greenhouse gas emissions, to domestic and international carbon trading programs, she’s done it all. She was given this mug while doing her environmental thing at Philip Morris a few years ago. It’s made entirely from corn plastic.
You see, when we run out of oil in a few decades, we’ll run out of plastic, too. The USA uses something like 200,000 barrels of oil a day on plastic packaging alone. That’s right: 200,000 barrels of oil a day, on stuff we throw away after we unwrap it. In theory, corn plastic will be the substance that replaces all that petroleum-based plastic when the petroleum is gone. Of course, corn plastic isn’t perfect. We still throw away an enormous amount of, well, everything. But you have to start somewhere.
P.S. “Degesch America, Inc. is located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley town of Weyers Cave, Virginia, USA. Degesch is a worldwide leader in the specialized field of stored product pest control.” In case you wondered.
The last few panels have been really interesting. One was “Costuming on a budget”, which was fun and interesting. The other was not really a panel, but rather a Q&A with the guest of honor, Brinke Stevens. She was really interesting. She had a perspective on the changes in the film industry wrought by technology in the past several decades, and some insightful observations about how the business of selling movies has shifted in response to changes in technology. That was an unexpectedly interesting discussion, and I rather wish I had recorded it. Then she went on to talk about her current work, books she is writing, her interest in the environment (she has a masters in marine biology, was on track to study dolphin communication as she was working on her doctorate before she got into films). The whole science-environment part of her talk was fascinating.
I am really glad that we got to meet her: she is genuinely interesting. I bought one of her DVDs in the dealer room, Dead Clowns. She autographed it for me. 🙂
This is cool. HP will send you a postage-paid envelope to send back empty inkjet and laserjet cartridges to be recycled.
Since at least the early 1990s, trillions of discarded plastic items have converged, held together by swirling currents, to form the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch that now covers an area twice the size of the United States and weighs about 100 million tons. “Every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there,” said one researcher quoted in a February dispatch in London’s The Independent. An oceanographer predicted that the Patch would double in size in just the next decade. A 2006 United Nations office estimated that every square mile of ocean contains, on average, 46,000 pieces of floating plastic.
The Burmese python is challenging the native alligator for the top of the Everglades’ food chain. In a particularly freaky skirmish of this war, two of these apex predators killed each other in a fight to the death just a few days ago.
I learned an interesting thing at the Virginia Aquarium the other day. A swamp is not a bog, nor are either of these marshes. A swamp has trees, water, and mud. A bog has trees, water, and decaying vegetation which is decaying more slowly than it builds up. A marsh has grass, water, and mud, and is either a salt marsh or a freshwater marsh, depending on how close it is to the ocean and how much brackish water the tide brings in. The Virginia Aquarium is located right on top of a salt marsh, and the exhibits on the marsh ecosystem are really interesting.