17 September 2007

I pay my taxes too!


I ride a bike (a bicycle not a motorcycle, but that doesn't make me any less bad ass) as part of my personal transportation scheme. I have been hit (with cars) , screamed at, flicked off, run of the road, and otherwise made to feel wrong for using the transportation network in ways that do not involve an automobile. I attempt to ride within the legal constraints that govern my use of the road as much as possible (I have found several traffic lights in town that don't respond to bicycles), but that's not to say I don't advocate my position with those drivers in particularly confrontational moods.

The lack of taxes used to be the primary argument that I was confronted with concerning personal animosities toward cycling as a form of transportation. More recently I have heard the opposition shift to a position concerning the incompatibility of cycles and automobiles posing a danger to cyclist. I have actually been told that cyclist should merely move off the road until their advocacy prompts the appropriate infrastructure. In my opinion, unless people see cyclist on the road using the existing infrastructure for their non-auto transportation needs, then no one will realize the need for changes. But I digress... In the case of the tax argument, SeattlePI has an interesting write-up concerning the actual distribution of taxes for transportation uses. It seems that drivers really aren't paying the full cost of transportation services at the pump and at the DMV. If this is really the case then drivers will have to look elsewhere to justify their sense of entitlement.

Now everyone knows that you waste energy

A recent post on GigaOM showed that Google Maps is usage is seeing noted increases due to the release of the iPhone and other mobile phone ventures including Nokia are looking for ways to put maps in the hands of users. With Google and Yahoo now attempting to compete in the internet map arena, users are being granted spatially abilities that they had previously never dreamed of attaining.

The City of Haringey (United Kingdom) has found an incredibly powerful application for these easily accessible widely available tools... informing other people of your bad habits. Haringey has developed a map that illustrates the relative heat loss among the city's buildings. Although there are some potential concerns about privacy (especially here in the United States where we demand to be in complete control of information pertaining to us), similar maps could foster an unified moral imperative among community members. As map data integrates even more complex datasets, perhaps we can begin to see the carbon emissions or power use of our neighbors.

Credit goes to JETSONGREEN.com for the original post.

How to build a Utopia

The New York Times posted this interesting step-by-step guide on how to fix our cities and restore a sense of community. It's unfortunate about the architects. I think that maybe that step would serve best if changed to reorient the architects... after all they are only providing a service that we demand. Yes, we, as in the majority of us, as in when we vote with our spending habits and actions.

16 September 2007

Eat your veggies before they eat you!!!


I've been meaning to post this for quite a while, but alas have lacked the personal organization skills to do so. I am trying out a new method to attempt to force myself to blog more often, so we will see how it works; this is my first test of that new method. Anyway this is a piece of digital art created by Till Nowak that I ran across on Core77 (an awesome design site if you are interested in creative and innovative new product design ideas). This picture can be used to comfort those who feel that their diet lacks something when they don't get the whole dominator of nature feeling you get when you slap a steak on your plate. In this case not only are veggies better for the environment, but eating them is purely a survival tactic.

14 September 2007

Pretty Interesting

There is a lot of mainstream press lately about hybrids and plug-ins and other ways of increasing fuel economy. Every once in a while a little information about our diets and their environmental impact (other than local food) creeps onto a blog, but it's really an issue that we all lack an educational foundation on. I found this graphic to be rather powerful and felt compelled to share it here.

09 September 2007

Random Quote

Do not be too quick to condemn the man who no longer believes in God: for it is perhaps your own coldness and avarice and mediocrity and materialism and selfishness that have chilled his faith.

Thomas Merton
(1915-1968)