Tagged: environment

I Saved the Planet, Dudes

Minnesota Chronicles, Vol. 3

No seriously. It has been made clear to me that alls I have to do is leave my towels on the rack instead of the floor, and it will save the planet. Well, friends, I am happy to announce: the planet is SAVED. You can thank me later.

I’ve done many things for you guys over the years, but none of them probably had the impact that this one single event did. I’m just wondering though… instead of printing up this cute little sign and going through all that trouble, couldn’t the person who placed the sign just left the towels on the rack? He could have saved the planet back when he hung the sign. Oh well, it’s really no sweat to me, and I’m happy (and honored) to have gotten the opportunity to perform such a magnanimous, philanthropic detail.

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The Panama Chronicles: Part 4

Part Four: The Tribal Village of the Embera

We’ve come a long way with technology. This to me is science. I like to stay at the forefront – the leading edge, and all the other buzzwords you can think of that have to do with technology. I sometimes buy devices and gadgets with the full intention of returning them within the fourteen-day window just so I can become familiar with them, learn all about them, and be able to speak intelligibly of them. I would never personally own a Windows phone, but I was quick to hop on my mother’s for an hour or two when she got it, just to check out what they’re all about. I have more gadgets and technology in my house than a Best Buy distribution warehouse. Well, one that’s very small and only has like five laptops and three tablets in it.

I never dreamed I could part with my tech so easily. And maybe I can’t. I brought my tablet and my D/SLR camera with me on this trip to Panama. And my cell phone. And my wife’s laptop, her cell phone, a pocket camera, a 3G wireless hotspot, a GRUB analyzer, a Trip Socket spectrometer, and a bag full of cords, cables, chargers and SD cards. I came fully prepared. Our phones, however, remained off the entire trip. It was nice to be disconnected. Sort of. Not sort of nice. Sort of disconnected. Of course we still fired up Lync and Google Talk to video chat with the kids in the evenings, and I checked my email on my tablet and sent my drawings to my game mates on Draw Something. But we were more off-the-grid than usual. Especially when we went to see the Indians.

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The Panama Chronicles: Part 1

Part One: Man Versus Murphy

As our tour guide for the Panama Canal said, “Murphy isn’t just a part of our daily lives here in Panama, but he was also born here.” He spoke of Edward Murphy, the Panamanian native who coined the phrase we all know today as Murphy’s Law. Well, we met Mr. Murphy before we even got to the airport.

State Highway 121, which is perpetually in a state of construction, almost caused us to miss our flight. They had blocked the exit to the airport. I don’t know who ‘they’ is, but I’d sure like to have a little chat with them. Yes, they blocked the exit. How can they do that when there are literally thousands of people every day who depend on that exit to get to the airport? Well, you’ll have to ask ‘them’.

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Space and the New Independence

I recently took a new job, as all the computers at my old company were finally fixed. Nothing left to do, time to move on. And though my new POE, or Place of Employement is in uptown Dallas – much farther than my previous commute – I am happy to make the trip for two simple reasons. Number A, it’s good to be back in my old stomping grounds. I’ve worked for several companies over the years that were based here around this area, and have gotten to know and love it. Letter two, working in uptown makes it possible (and logistically preferable) to use public transit.

Taking the train to work does not save me any time. On the contrary, in fact. It takes me probably an extra half- to three-quarters of an hour to get to work. But it saves gas. To the tune of over seventeen hundred dollars per year. One might also, though, say that it saves my sanity. I no longer have to worry about traffic jams and road rage; douchebags in oversized Chevy pickups who think they own the road. Continue reading…

25 Years Later: Chernobyl

Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of the tragic disaster that ruined Chernobyl and affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. I’ve read the story many times over the years, fascinated by the insane breakdown of events that put them in that predicament, and it gets more interesting every time I read it. But it also depresses me greatly.

The greatest weakness in the system was humanity. We caused the catastrophe. Humans are a stupid, self-serving, arrogant bunch. And that arrogance changed Chernobyl and the surrounding towns – basically making them unlivable for the next thousand years. That’s when it will be safe to move back. But there will still be radiation for up to seventy thousand more years.

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Hyper Space

I’ve lately begun to take offense to high gas prices. I’m not going to go into the politics of why I believe they are so high right now, or why I think the price hikes are completely unjustified, reactive and irrelevant to anything worldly at all. I’m just going to say that the price of gas has started to rise again, and I’m taking action against it.

Just like when I got my last traffic citation: I decided that I was no longer going to pay the state one more dime of my hardly earned money. The main highway just out of my neighborhood is a tollway. I have the American standard 2.4 vehicles per household, plus a camping trailer that I have to register plates for every year. Plus inspections, state-required insurance (instead of a check-box that reads “Opt out: Dude, seriously, I don’t need insurance because I’m not an idiot driver”) and all other types of ill fees I have to pay just to exist in this state. No way am I going to let them catch me speeding or something so I’ll have to pay more fines and fees! I decided right then and there that I was going to obey every traffic law to the K.

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Space Vs. The Heater Bot

I’ve just ended my weeks-long battle with my heater bot. And while it might not be an interesting story to some, I feel like I should write about it in case anyone else ever runs into the same problem and needs some ideas for a fix.

You see, I’m of the opinion that if I can pay someone to come out and fix something in my home, I can darn sure fix it myself. Or I can at least try. I am not afraid to enlist the experience of my buddies and neighbors if they know something I don’t. But so far I’ve found I’ve been able to repair everything myself, and the only detriment to doing it myself is that it takes a little longer. Since I’m not an expert in any of these things that typically go wrong, I just have to use common sense and work backwards on the issue, troubleshooting and just figuring out what it could possibly be. Which, if you don’t know the system, takes a little longer. But it’s a lot cheaper than calling someone out and paying a trip fee and their marked-up parts cost and whatnot.

So you remember when my cooler bot went out during the summer. Well, my cooler bot and heater bot are part of the same physical unit. And in repairing the cooler bot part of it, I disabled part of the heater portion. So here’s what I did, how I eventually came to repair it, and why it took so damn long.

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The Dumbest Animals at the Zoo

The Fort Worth zoo is a very big place. It’s full of animals. If your goal is to see every exhibit, you really have to haul ass. If you monkey around at the aquarium, you won’t have time for the elephants. I mean, it’s a zoo out there. But really, I think the dumbest animals in the park are – well, you guessed it: humans.

There should be certain rulesets to which we all adhere when in a public place. For instance, when there’s a path that everyone is to follow, and one direction has, say five feet, then you don’t stretch your party across the entire five-foot path. There are other people who are interested in seeing exhibits, and might possibly be traveling faster than you and your party of hambeasts. Sorry, women, the beached whale exhibit is back by the entrance.

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Would it kill you to smile?

I am not a pessimist, well not completely… yet. I try to have a positive attitude at all times. Especially times that involve people who do not know me. I like to make a good first impression. With that said, there are some actions that just deserve reciprocation. Actions that try to promote a positive setting like a friendly wave or saying hello. My major expectation? If I smile at you, please do me the courtesy of smiling back.

I was very shy when I was younger, and I would keep my eyes pointed down when I was in public. I would never make eye contact. I would walk past friends in a mall and never know it until they yelled my name. Now that I’m older and I have a job where I work around hundreds of people, I try to be more personable. I work in a warehouse that has been converted into office space, and I work in the very back of that huge building. Every morning I walk from the middle of the large parking lot to my desk; it’s about the equivalent of two and a half blocks. I pass quite a few people while walking and I look at each one, in the eyes, and smile. Heck, sometimes I even say, “Good morning!” or “How are you doing?”

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Can the 1300s get a little love?

Haycomet just wrote a very nice piece about living in the middle ages, and it sort of touched a soft spot in my emotions. Because like her, I too have always wanted to visit a different time period. I actually wrote an essay about my time machine in the SpaceBrew Scroll. You can read it here if you’re interested. You probably didn’t even know that existed, did you? Yeah? Well it does. You should go check it out. It’s a small series of collaborative efforts by the entire writing staff at the time. Anyway, I’ve gone off on a tangent, and there’s your opening paragraph.

But I have to admit something, friends. I mentioned where I had gone and what I had done with my time machine in that post, but it wasn’t really true. I don’t really own a time machine. I know, I know, I’m a bastard for misleading you and everything, but it was fun to pretend for a while. I really want one though, if that’s any consolation. I like to think I could go back and meet some of those really cool, influential people in history. Albert Einstein. Seka (when she was younger)… Adolf Hitler. You know, just those people you really kind of want to get to know. Find out what made them tick. Well, I know what made Seka tick, if you know what I mean. :perv:

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Bacon Talk: Toilets

A great thing about having a huge group of writers on staff is that Space always has hundreds of articles to choose from daily. I’m just so darn talented, so that’s why he picks at least one of my pieces every week. Okay, seriously though, I almost didn’t get that all typed before I started laughing. Space and I are the two main writers and sometimes we get “blocked” or just plain busy and need to come up with anything at all to fill a day. We don’t want our faithful readers sitting in a corner, rocking back and forth, saying, “I need my SpaceBrew, I need my SpaceBrew, I need my SpaceBrew…” So today Space and I have collaborated to write this amazing article- one worthy of a Pulitzer! It’s about toilets. Why not? We can only post so many stories about bacon, any more and Space said he is going to rename the site SpaceBacon. So here we go…
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Pusher Robot No Longer Moves Air

Part 2 of the Shover Robot Saga

After many calls to my father-in-law, I am now a certified Master Electrician. I’m also a certified Master Air Conditioner Repair technician. Siege is now also certified in these departments. So when I left you at the end of the last column, my air conditioner was not turning on and my microwave was out. It works fine, it just has that extra feature now that my red-haired wife found to be pretty shocking. Our new status here is this: my microwave is still out, my water heater is out, but my air conditioner is blowing cold mountain air, fresh from the Rockies.

I won’t go into details about how we got to that status, but – wait. Who am I kidding? Of course I will. That’s what I do here. I called an air conditioner company here in SpaceTown, and the dude told me I had either blown a fuse or a transformer on the air handler. I know how much a fuse is. But how much does a transformer cost? And I don’t mean one of the gay autobot types, but rather a Decepticon, like Megatron, Shockwave or Thundercracker. “Well we charge about 200 bucks for it.” Whew! You guys are proud of them puppies! I wasn’t happy about that, but I was determined to find out what was wrong myself. And not pay someone else to come out here and fix this shit for me. I like to be handy, you know. Just ask my red-haired wife how handy I get under the covers. :perv: Oh wait. That’s handsy

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Seriously, dudes. Save the trees.

Does anyone read the yellow pages? Okay, that’s not what I mean. I know no one reads it! Haha! That would be a boring ass read, amirite? Yeah. Seriously. But yeah, no, see, yeah what I meant to say was, does anyone use the yellow pages? Yeah, see that’s what I thought.

I used to use them all the time. I’d pop one in Callie’s seat so she could reach the table. But I haven’t actually opened the yellow pages since – well, shit, I don’t think I ever have. Why would I? I have an iPhone. I have google 411. I have the Internets. That’s all free. And faster. And last I checked, no trees had to die to support the internet. So please, Southwestern Bell, save the paper. Save the trees. And stop sending me the stupid yellow pages.

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Let’s talk about spiders.

Spiders are great little creatures. Millions of people like spiders quite a bit. I like spiders. I’ve had a large huntsman’s spider in the corner of my bathroom for several years now. I don’t know what she eats – it’s not like there’s a lot of bugs in the bathroom! No, but seriously, they’re good for the environment, they help prevent global warming, and they’re a great alternative fuel source if you grind them into a fine powder and mix them with Tang® and shrew urine. I cannot back up any of these claims, however.

But that leads me to my real point: spider silk. Now that shit is bad ass. It’s so bad ass, in fact, that they’ve made movies about it. Have you maybe heard of a little movie called Spiderman? It’s about a boy who finds a bunch of spider silk and starts dressing up as a spider so he will have a reason to use it. Spider silk is seriously strong though. Its tensile strength is stronger than steel, and it’s extremely lightweight. You know I’ve read somewhere that if you were to take a line of silk long enough to wrap around the entire earth (which is like 70 or 90 miles) it would weigh less than sixteen ounces. Sixteen ounces! In other words, a little more than a pound.

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Renewable Resources

In an effort to help better the world a little bit, I feel it is my duty as a writer to come up with some ideas. Some things we take for granted, or perhaps never even think about. I feel obligated to come up with some ways to help make this place a little easier to live in for our grandchildren, and our grandchildren’s grandchildren. And our grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildren. So here are some of my ideas that will perhaps help us to save or cut back on our usage of some of those resources that will soon go away.

First of all, and probably most importantly, is gasoline. We’re about to run out. And it costs a shitload of money right now. Patent pending, yo.For future generations, reading this post a hundred years from now, it costs an average of 3.95 per gallon right now. So I’ve come up with a method for propelling these beasts that suck up so much of our gas (and money! ha ha). See in this figure, an attachment to affix the contraption to your front bumper. Then you turn on the fan, and it blows air into the attached sail. This is the same principle of sail boating, except that we’re providing our own draft. Now, I know what you’re thinking. And to answer your question, before you ask it, no, it doesn’t have to come in those silly colors. Don’t be ridiculous.

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Time for a New Orleans

Yeah, I’d just like to give a quick shout out to all our neighboring countries who’ve jumped right in to help us in this time of crisis. What’s up, Canada? Hey Mexico – how you doing? Hey Germany, how’s it hangin? Remember all them boats full of supplies and food and medicine and doctors and clothes and toys and blankets we sent in the wake of the tsunami last Christmas? Yeah. What’s up?

I’d also like to see some interior congregation of goods and services offering. I’d like to see a hotel chain like Hilton offer up ten thousand rooms all over the country – at cost – for some of the million families to stay in for a while. I’d like to see a Luby’s chain open up and say, “What’s up, New Orleansers, come in here and grab a hot cajun meal.” I’d like to see a Wal Mart or a Ross Dress For Less say, “Hey, chiefs, come in here and get some dry clothes.” I’d like to see gas prices hop up over four dollars a gallon so the oil industry doesn’t have to suffer.

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My War on Wasps

I hate wasps and hornets. They piss me off. I respect them, because – unlike ants – you have to piss them off before they sting you. But I still hate them sons of bitches. They all live up under the eave of my house thinking they own the place, and they dive bomb me when I’m trying to relax in my pool with a beer.

What I want to know, is how the hell do they know how to sting? It’s obviously inborn behavior, but it’s still a mystery to me. At what point in their lives do they become aware of the fact that that stinger on they tail is a weapon? No one teaches them that shit. They just know. And some wasps die after they sting you. So what’s the point of stinging if you know your ass is gonna die? screw that.

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Selective Astrobiology

Scientists recently began to believe there may be life on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. They’ve been digging in Barrow Alaska through the ice, and they’ve found life there, despite its -4º temperature. Lake Vostok, which is in the heart of Antarctica, may be their test ground for building a probe that would drill through the ten-mile ice layer on Europa. Lake Vostok is covered by a two-mile thick plate (sheet? layer?) – yeah layer of ice. If they can build a probe that will drill through the ice and sample the water beneath, we may have a shot at discovering whether or not there’s life in the waters of Europa. An alien lake.

You know what fascinates me though? I love Astrophysics and Cosmology and the study of other planets and their surfaces. But not for biology. Who the heck cares if there’s microbes living at the bottom of a Jovian lake? What good is it going to do us? For one thing, we have no way to kill all the microbes that live on our probes, so we may be populating the waters with our own trash. Unless we can keep our shit at absolute zero for a couple of years, then have a way to ensure that killed everything permanently, then furthermore have a way to knock all the dead things off once our probe is en route to Europa… It’s all useless.

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