Thursday, January 24, 2008

Campus Greenings

Today I walked up to Jazzman's at Rollins to find a new hot pink sign glaring me in the face. It promoted an idea that had come to mind before and hence I thought was long overdue. I mean if I can come up with it then someone else surely should have awhile ago. It said that patrons that buy coffe and provide their own mug would receive $0.15 off the regular price. This is a great strategy to reduce waste from the operation, but when I asked what made them start this they could only say that it was for the same reason that they started using the frequent combo cards (buy 8 get one free). The cards are actually extra paper that ends up in the garbage so I figured that they do these things to make more money, by getting people to come back over and over in the latter case and by saving the cost of cup they would otherwise go through faster. Interestingly it seems the cost of cups is what is really driving this change, since everyone knows coffee (water) is basically free around here and prices don't shift even during severe shortage, such as the one we have now.

Georgia Tech's highlights are certainly focused on water. The first has been around for awhile and is worth noting again. That is, the flushless/waterless urinals in many on the men's bathrooms on campus. The second is a bit newer and more subtle and that is the new faucet heads on all the sinks. Now the water comes out of the sinks more like a watering can than an open hose. I first noticed this strategy last weekend at the cabin when everytime I went to the kitchen sink the water came out in this 'shower' fashion as opposed to the 'cylinder' of H2O to which I have become accustomed. I must say it works. If you want proof you need only try to fill a water bottle. You'll notice that it takes significantly longer to fill the volume. So in the brief seconds you need to get handwashing water you're not losing as much water down the drain. Well done engineers.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Caucuses Primarily

I am not good at keeping up with politics. I picked up the New York Times today and learned more about Johnny Greenwood's classical composition for strings than the results of Michigan's primary. I like to watch results but know little about what's going on behind it all. If you want to read a review of the Democratic race that is considerably well researched I recommend this from Ben and Katy.

One of the first questions I have about the whole political game is what is the difference between the primary and a caucus and why do we have them. I guess that a caucus is a meeting that you are invited to by the party at which you choose who you want to support, while a primary is an actual election. But why do we let the people of Iowa and New Hampshire make early decisions that have important effects for us all? I am not so sure that the populations of the two are representative of the rest of the country. In terms of race/ethnicity they certainly are different from the US composition. They are both far more white and less everything else, especially Latino. This also includes foreign born persons and immigration is an issue of the day. New Hampshire also seems significantly better educated and wealthier than most of the US. However even if they were right on the averages of the US, that is not a reason to have them choose which candidates we'll ultimately have a choice on.

I would do some more research but like I said I am not good at (interested in) all things political. I AM American enough to state that this is exactly what's wrong with this country.

Iowa's Stats

New Hampshire's Stats

Friday, January 11, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

My New Year's Resoultion is 1280 x 960.

I know it's already the 11th but now is as good a time as any to make my intentions for the new year known. I thought long and hard about some of these and since October wrote down some of the best actions I could take in 2008 to improve my condition in the world.

First and most important on the list was my resolution to stop farting near/around Lauren. It started horribly with a real loungefest in front of a football-filled tv on New Year's Day, but when I saw that she would help hold me to my commitment I really made the change. I was/am dissappointed that I tried to get away with it for awhile but now I am making real progress. Even though this only applies to Lauren it is disappointing that neither her or anyone else notices my efforts. It is like some many other horrible things the world has endured; we only notice them when we are forced to deal with them and do not comment on our delight of their absence as often as we should. I'm glad that Khmer Rouge is gone forever. It works the other way for things of beauty and grace; in their absence we long for their presence. MLK, wish you were here.

My second resoultion strays from the ethic of the whole practice but I like it. I plan to use the phrase "my wife works in __________" to reinforce my opinions/knowledge of certain topics. I will only use this in casual settings, and obviously it will only work on those who do not Lauren and for jobs that she could fill. Nobody is going to buy "My wife plays in the NFL", but "my wife works in the Falcon's front office" might help others form a little trust in the trade rumors I start spreading. Of course telling all of you hurts the efficacy of this ruse but I will still find my opportunities.

Thirdly, I would like to change the way I eat. This stared out as a goal to eat seasonally even though I hardly know what that means. The idea was that seasonal foods would be fresher, grow outside naturally, come from places nearer to where I eat and hence require less energy to produce and to get them to me. It has expanded into considering more vegetarian options. This requires less knowledge than the eating seasonal thing. I guess I'm trying all this in an effort to ease my personal impact on the ecology of the planet. This has to do with the energy, land, and the other food required to raise animals for food. Getting away from the huge animals, like cow, are the easist way to make a dent in that food production bar of the graph.

Email me (or Lauren in the case of #1) to find out how we progress as 2008 continues. Happy New Year!

What food is in season (in the UK) now
Seasonal Food Calendar (UK)
The Cheeseburger Footprint