electricland: (Default)
I have a long list of things to do, most of which I don't feel like doing. But one of them is "Update LJ" (no, really). So here I am.

Via [livejournal.com profile] spacing, interesting article on the future of suburbs.
In the first half of last year, residential burglaries rose by 35 percent and robberies by 58 percent in suburban Lee County, Florida, where one in four houses stands empty. Charlotte’s crime rates have stayed flat overall in recent years—but from 2003 to 2006, in the 10 suburbs of the city that have experienced the highest foreclosure rates, crime rose 33 percent. Civic organizations in some suburbs have begun to mow the lawns around empty houses to keep up the appearance of stability. Police departments are mapping foreclosures in an effort to identify emerging criminal hot spots.

The decline of places like Windy Ridge and Franklin Reserve is usually attributed to the subprime-mortgage crisis, with its wave of foreclosures. And the crisis has indeed catalyzed or intensified social problems in many communities. But the story of vacant suburban homes and declining suburban neighborhoods did not begin with the crisis, and will not end with it. A structural change is under way in the housing market—a major shift in the way many Americans want to live and work. It has shaped the current downturn, steering some of the worst problems away from the cities and toward the suburban fringes. And its effects will be felt more strongly, and more broadly, as the years pass. Its ultimate impact on the suburbs, and the cities, will be profound.
I'm in a bit of a slump at the moment myself, although not of epic proportions. I spent Tuesday home sick and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and Februaryish and lacking motivation. Also, time has been behaving really weirdly; I keep being surprised by how much or how little time has passed since event X. But I'm chipping away at work, I bought lipstick and got a Clinique bonus (hey, whatever works), today is sunny and gorgeous, my dog seems to feel all is right with his world now that Jen and Tilde are home, and the family birthday is tonight. So life could be much worse.

It's been ages since I did a book update, so here's one, although it may be missing some items.

Cut to spare those who really don't care what I've been reading since the start of January )

Sheesh. I should be an Amazon affiliate.

Incidentally, the library's new hold/account interface is up and running. I have to say I hope they continue tinkering with it because, while the options to change the pickup location and put items on hold for a specific length of time are cool, it's missing some functionality that I really appreciated in the old version, specifically:
- items ready to pick up showed in a different section of the Holds page
- holds could be sorted by title or expiry date
- renewals showed up instantly (in the new version you have to log out and log in again, although it's possible this was due to startup bugginess)

It would also be good if its privacy certificate checked out properly. Just sayin', TPL.

What was interesting while they were switching over and the hold system was down was how empty the hold shelves in the branches got after just a couple of days. Really an impressive reminder of how many books cycle through there!

More lists of media consumed, just for completeness )
electricland: (mine seagulls talisker)
This Wired column on getting the tech industry to take some responsibility for the oceans of electronic waste they help create brought to mind the WEEE Man at the Eden Project. The photos are fairly impressive but it's extra thought-provoking in real life.
electricland: (This Is Wonderland)
So, Toronto friends: you should really try and get to Planet in Focus this week (November 1-5). Environmental films from all over the world, at entirely reasonable prices. (Here's Spacing's plug for the Toronto in the Moving Image series.) I'm really looking forward to it.

As an added bonus, if you come at the right time, you can see me! I'll be volunteering at the Innis College site: in the box office Friday evening (5:30 p.m. until, oooh, late) and front of house Sunday afternoon/evening (3:15 on). But even if that's not an inducement, do come out. It's going to be great.
electricland: (Alien)
I love Grist, I really do.

They depress me a lot of this time, like with this post on GM contamination of organic heritage crops.

But then they cheer me up with something like this: Black and White and Mad All Over: Unlikely allies send a dispatch from an enviro-justice tour in Michigan

Like they say, A Beacon in the Smog.

Some time I will discuss exciting things like our inevitable election (sigh). But not right now.
electricland: (winter horse kerlin)
On dirt.

Healthy soil literally lives and breathes; it's made up of decomposing matter and live organisms, from tiny bacteria to earthworms as big as your finger. Healthy soil is like a decadent poem: fevered activity, death, life, rebirth, green leaves and lovely flowers rooted in a bed of seething scatology.

A society that fails to study that poem courts extinction.
electricland: (stupid rat creatures)
So I gather there's some asinine Don't Buy Gas Tomorrow campaign going around. Puhlease.

Break the Chain explores why these things don't work. (Via [livejournal.com profile] gristmill_rss, who alerted me to this in the first place. (Oh, and Snopes also has something to say.)

Gas prices aren't going anywhere until the market says so. Deal. Want to save money on gas? Carpool, drive less, take public transit, walk, bike, make sure your car's tuned up and its tires are properly inflated, don't speed, go easy on the braking and accelerating, and if you're buying a new car, make sure it's really fuel-efficient. Yes, some of these are only realistic if you live in a city, but a lot of them are available to anyone.

Drivers, I feel your pain. I do. But I'm also somewhat gleeful: we drive far too much in North America, and anything that'll help cut down on that is fine by me. Also my lungs.
electricland: (don't panic)
Bush Vows to Eliminate U.S. Dependence on Oil by 4290

"It is the president's hope that hydrogen fuel cells, nanotechnology, or the recycling of human beings into fuel will hold the key," Marburger wrote. "Whatever the people of the 50th century feel is appropriate."

In a detailed policy statement, Bush elaborated on the plan, expressing the hope that a third party, perhaps one comprising robots or super-intelligent, genetically engineered man-beasts, will help reduce America's dependence on fossil fuels.

"I am calling on the popularly elected cyborgs of tomorrow to support this sensible measure to ensure the security of the nation," Bush said.

Some industrialists, particularly major auto manufacturers, expressed reservation over Bush's initiative.
electricland: (Alien)
I am not at all sure I should have gone looking for this: Ontario air quality forecast map.

Yuck.
electricland: (Death java)
On energy efficiency in the U.S., and why you may not be seeing it any time soon.

"Our dependence on foreign oil is like a foreign tax on the American dream. And that tax is growing every year," Bush said. "My administration is doing all we can to help ease the problem."
...by drilling for oil in good all-American locations like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. So I don't see why Dave titled the post "Cognitive Dissonance". There is no dissonance here, move along.

*sigh*

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