Saturday, August 20, 2011

Aug 20/Ignite! in Seattle

OK, this (from Fremont Universe) looks like a LOT of fun:

Ignite Seattle and Dorkbot Seattle are collaborating with Fremont Outdoor Movies to bring you a new kind of festival.
On the afternoon of Saturday, August 20th, Ignite Seattle is opening up the Fremont Outdoor Movie Cinema parking lot (N. 35th St. & Phinney Ave) for builders, garage hackers, diy makers and the generally curious. Everyone is encouraged to bring an interesting project to share or something to show off.
There are a few caveats to follow if you’re planning on showing up with a cool gadget or concept. The folks there have a limited amount of power, so they can’t promise electricity for everyone. And if you’re bringing something dangerous (which is totally cool), let them know, so they can make sure the appropriate signage gets posted.
After ThingOut! comes Ignite Seattle and some of the speakers already scheduled include a one-armed juggler/inspirational speaker, a letterpress expert, a hula-hopping expert and a ton more.
Admission is $5.00 at the door and all ages are welcome. The ThingOut Festival begins at 5pm while Ignite Seattle opens its doors at 7pm and talks begin at 8pm. For more information, check out the Ignite Seattle site.
This looks like a great cheap date. Will we see you there?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dawn Patrol for Trash - a #CTWW story

Several mornings a week, I walk to the bus stop to see my wife off to work. We enjoy our little walk together, planning the day and noticing which flowers are blooming in the various yards. We're getting to know the neighborhood cats and dogs as well.
On the walk back from the busstop, I've developed the habit of picking up any trash I pass by. Too often, there's a bottle or a can to drop in the recycling; sometimes it's a piece of paper; once a small dead tree, only four feet tall, which I am repurposing into support for my tomatoes.
The very best find was a small shelf that a neighbor had set out on the parking strip for all takers. She was still emptying her garage as I went by, and confirmed that, yes, the shelf was for anyone to re-use. It ended up at the house of my mother-in-law's boyfriend, where it fits in nicely ... much better than being trashed!
This Dawn Patrol for Trash is a small thing, but it is a slight improvement to our neighborhood. I'd urge anyone who walks to the bus to think about fitting this sort of thing into your life. If picking something up on the way to the bus wouldn't work, perhaps you can do it on the way back.
I was inspired to write about this small part of life by this week's Change The World Wednesday Challenge:
This week go for a walk and pick up litter as you go. If you don't find any litter on your walk, then just enjoy being outside and "communing" with nature. By the way, this is a great activity for kids so don't forget to include them.
As I re-read the challenge, I am reminded of all the fun I've had just going around my block and talking to everyone I meet. I cannot overstress the many benefits of walking the neighborhood. The people, buildings and streets around us are the closest parts of our world, and making connections with them reap great rewards. I'm not responsible for any kids right now, but it seems to me than if they are raised to ignore the house next door, that can't be a good thing, whereas the simple act of walking every day around the neighborhood can inculcate a valuable habit of knowing what's going on. Try it! and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vote for Cartoon About Science

The Union of Concerned Scientists invites you to vote for your favorite cartoon about political interference in science. I'd like to see some better (funnier) cartoons but at least they're trying.

Let's Hang Out! A #CTWW Laundry Tip!

Hanging Shirts: Effective & Cheap!
As I hung my shirts to dry in the sun, I realized that this week's Change The World Wednesday Challenge was easy for The Lazy Man to try:
"...look around your home at all the ways you use electricity. Choose one and don't use it for one entire day."
I don't like the electric clothes dryer. Partly this is because it waste money: so long as you have the space to hang up your clothes to dry, and the patience and/or foresight to do so, there is no reason in the world to burn money burning energy to burn the water out of your laundry.
In this, I am somewhat a minority opinion in my household. Laundry is a subject that touches us every day in many ways, and it's important to find ways that are comfortable with all present. Some people just don't like the feel of line-dried clothing, but for me, it's just nice.
The other disadvantage of the clothes dryer is that it encourages people to do a lot of meaningless folding. Folded shirts, in particular, have to be stacked somewhere, which makes retrieving them for use an issue.
How much better it is, in every way, simply to hang each shirt, fresh from the wash, on a hanger, hang that shirt to dry in the sun, and then (when dry) onto a rod. Scanning a rod for the desired shirt is swift and easy. The only cost for this system is an initial investment in as many hangers as you have shirts; since they last for decades this is insignificant.
Perhaps I've gone on and on with this subject more than was necessary but it's only because it seems so irrational to do otherwise. Some day we may view the clothes dryer as we view 8-track-tapes: artifacts of another time.