Going green for the elections

October 31, 2010

Yahoo! Green suggests that as Americans, people can star going green by researching the recipient of their votes.

Where to start:

So I also found a few interesting links on the page:


Breakfast of Biodiversity

October 31, 2010

I started reading the book and decided to take some notes on the rainforest – the rainforest that I grew up with and miss.

Six key factors in rainforest function

  • High biodiversity (problem: low density of each species)
  • Sex pollination
  • Herbivores (problem: clumped plants become easy target; too rare starve herbivores)
  • Seed dispersal = protect offspring
  • Death (disturbance events) = opening in canopy allows things to happen
  • Soil = rapid nutrient cycle (problem: infertile)

High biodiversity (problem: low density of each species)

Not due to high temperatures and high rainfalls

Proposed explanation: free of ice sheet – more time for evolution

(problem: low density of each species): higher potential to be fragile – house of cards metaphor (not so much spider web metaphor)

(pro: low density): enemies hypothesis explains how so many species live together and not in clumps

Sex –pollination

Bees need to be sustained by flowers all year-long so that pollination can happen at all – if 2 weeks each, then 26 species at least

(problem: preserving small patches of the forest)

Herbivores (problem: clumped plants become easy target; too rare starve herbivores)

Defense: structural, chemical , mutualistic

Chemical – coevolutionary arms race

Mutualistic – my enemy’s enemy is my friend

Seed dispersal = protect offspring

Seed = energy-rich = target of animals

Solution: create a reward separate from seed itself; seed predator satiate-ion

Death (disturbance events) = opening in canopy allows things to happen

Turnover rate increased = shade-tolerant slow-growing plants (harder wood – sequester nutrients slowly)  outcompete-d by  pioneer and sun-loving plants (softer wood – invest in height not density or width)

Forests are not untouched – high capacity to restore themselves, as long as the damage is not extensive (e.g. shifting cultivation compared to commercial agriculture)

Soil = rapid nutrient cycle (problem: infertile)

Low biomass (rapid decomposition)

Acid soils (low nutrient release)

Weak negatively charged clay particles – low nutrient retention

Then, I got to this part about the hardwoods of the rainforest being prized lumber. Yes, I agree that they are very valuable, but I think the value my society places on them makes them priceless.

What am I talking about? – Exquisite wood carving, which infuses a beautiful piece of wood with a unique and priceless “spirit”. I looked around for Malaysian wood furniture and wood carving that I had so much of.

Oh I love wood… all wood, wood, wood… to go into a place without wood and marble is like leaving my comfort zone ;P

But what is so special about wood and the value we impart to it through woodwork and carving? I snooped around and found that a master wood carver in Malaysia passed on in 2002. These are some of the websites about him and his work:

Semangatkayu.com (literally means Spirit of Wood) – About & Legacy

Spirit of Wood exhibition

BOOK: Spirit of Wood: the art of Malay woodcarving

***

Something to think about:

‘Spirit of Wood’ has provided much to demonstrate the highly aesthetic and functional aspects of Malay woodcarving and has restored the Malay woodcarving to its original status as an essential art form.

MTC.com, a timber firm


Chi*ken Swe*per

October 27, 2010

When you raise “free-range” chickens you have to catch them.

Solution here.


I’m a Meat-Eater. Nom nom nom nom

October 27, 2010

Eating Animals by Jonathon Safran Foer

—–

Nom nom nom. I eat animals, but…maybe going vegetarian won’t be so bad.

Actually, I’ve tried to go vegetarian hundreds of times, but then I’ll forget and eat meat, all of a sudden realizing, “Crap, I forgot”. Oh, what a forgetful mind I have.

Anyway, to the reading we go:

My book had an interesting green cover. I liked it.

Ok, focus. This was a great book. Cleverly written and I was engaged the entire 2oo-some pages. But since this is not a textbook, but a novel, I guess I’ll talk about some of the things Jon says, and relate them to my life.

In the beginning, Jon talks about when he first realized he was eating an animal. I don’t remember when I first realized I was eating animals. But I do remember seeing first hand where my food comes from.

It was in 1999, when I was in the 5th grade. I was visiting my dad for the weekend, and him and his next door neighbor were hosting the block pig roast. I’m not a huge beef or pork eater, but I didn’t mind it once in a while. So here I was, walking by a large hot steaming and good-smelling metal thing. It turns out, a full-grown pig was in there. To sum it all up, I saw the pig before it was cooked, and after it was cooked. My dad served me a plate of pork that he cut off of the thighs of Wilbur. I couldn’t believe it. This is what I put in my mouth? I knew that this stuff came from animals, but I never got to see first-hand…I was disgusted and couldn’t eat it. I was vegetarian for a whole week. To this day, I can’t eat an animal or once living thing, when I see with my own eyes where it came from, including sea food. In other words, if my food still has it’s eyes, NO THANK YOU!

Jon talks about how he hated animals for many years, then one day he did. Wow. I wish I can go from eating meat, to vegetarian in just one day. Except, if I went vegetarian, it would be for health, not because I’m a weirdo who says it’s because everything should be treated equal. Although kosher sounds like something I’d do. I certainly don’t support the treatment of many of theses animals before they are cut up into pieces, but I need my meat. It’s how we get to the top of the food chain.

Ah, yes, the controversial eating-of-the-dog. My mother is Korean, and I’ve tried to bring up the topic of dog-eating in Korea, but she just mumbles to me in Korean and shoos me away. What is so wrong about eating a dog? Is not a dog the same thing as eating other animals? Ah, perhaps it is because we’ve domesticated the canines so much that they’ve become a part of the family and we give them names. Therefore, eating a dog would be eating a member of the family. So then, eating fish is wrong too, because many people have fish as pets. “Psh, no way Bobby, eating fish is different” you tell me. Mm, not quite. To me, an animal is an animal. I love dogs (AS PETS!) and would never eat one, only because I too, am used to seeing them in households. But I would not refuse to eat it because it is immoral, because it isn’t. PETA, I don’t like you.

Ok, I’m about to rant here. I get very upset when people get upset at Koreans and other cultures for consuming dog. Dogs as pets are of course popular in all parts of the world. Look at the Hindus in India. The cow is revered as a holy animal, therefore they freely roam all over and killing/eating one is prohibited. But we eat cows everyday in the United States. So in India, they think of us as disgusting because we are eating what they consider a holy being. Shame on the U.S for eating beef right? And shame on the Koreans for eating dog, shame on the French for eating cat brains, shame on the Chinese for eating snakes, shame on the Pakistanis for eating sheep’s head, and blah blah blah blah. No, there is nothing shameful in something you eat. Except if it is another human.

The next part of his book talks about the definitions of words. I like his definitions. Merriam Webster should put them in their books. Then the page with the rectangle comes up. Yikes. That’s all the room they get? AND free-range? Then what the hell is the point of free-range chicken if they are still in cages? I’m telling you, kosher is the way to go.

The beginning of the Hiding’Seeking chapter was tough to read because of the contents. When we eat food, we hardly think of where it came from, or the source of it. We definitely don’t think of the slaughter houses, or the jam-packed chicken coups where we get our over-stuffed to death chicken meat. I still am a meat-eater, but reading things like this makes me feel bad. If I had a choice of eating an over-fed chicken injected with hormones and killed or eating an actual free-roam chicken that was fed naturally,  and head cut off, I’d eat the free-roam. I would at least know that there was no mistreatment.

I may eat meat, and I may not like PETA, but I don’t like beating anything to death only for consumption later. Even a fly, I would never kill. I’m not one of those crazy people, but the fly is just living it’s short life, doing what it can to survive.

Then comes Thanksgiving. And hey! It’s coming up in a few weeks! I don’t like turkey, at all, but I can’t wait to have some sweet maple ham, and all the rest of the food that comes with that wonderful day.

And to answer his question about turkey and Thanksgiving,…WHO CARES? It’s just a tradition like he said. Tofurky? No thanks. Well, I mean, I don’t eat turkey anyway, but I understand the dilemma it would cause for turkey-lovers if turkey were no longer the main course served.

Thanks to this guy, my next few meals will not be so enjoyable. Perhaps reading this book is a push for me to go vegetarian. But like I said, it’s for health. I’m not saying that eating meat is bad for you, but just the way we prepare it. All the grease…

I think every meat-eater who doesn’t care about their food should read this.


Eating Animals

October 27, 2010

Family and Pets

 
 

•Meals offer story time for families
–Grandparents who encourage eating meat; weighing children to determine health
•Many people have pets
•Would you consider eating your pet?
–Maybe a dog you weren’t conditioned to?

 

 

Fish and Factory Farming

•Is it right to have nets 30 miles long?
•Is it morally acceptable to overfish our oceans?
–What about fish farms?
•Is it morally acceptable to keep animals in concrete confinement with limited mobility?
–What about letting “downers” die from exposure?
•The diversity of farm life has been lost
  
PETA and the doors they open
 
 
•Too radical?

–Points made and things are accomplished from their work

•Would you ever cross the fence to help the animals?
•“It’s a bad mistake to confuse something unpleasant with something wrong”
–PETA wants to end factory farming (and farming in general), but family farms will never be able to support a worlds population when people want cheaper food
 
Is meat necessary?
 
 
•It is an individuals choice, not a species
–“it’s always possible to wake someone from sleep, but no amount of noise will wake someone who is pretending to be asleep”
•Unethical to kill an animal?
•How much pain is acceptable?
–“it’s going to die anyways”
 
Chicken
 
  
•180 million chickens are improperly slaughtered every year
–4 million go into the scalding tanks fully alive ad conscious
–“every week millions of chickens leaking yellow pus, stained by green feces, contaminated by harmful bacteria, or marred by lung and heart infections, cancerous tumors, or skin conditions are shipped for sale to consumers”
 
Cattle
 
  
•Cattle are slaughtered at 12-14 months of age
•Plants want the animals to bleed out quickly, “too dead” is bad
–Some plants deliberately choose less effective knocking methods
–Conscious animals are often processed
•Again, where is the limit on how much pain these animals should endure?

 

•“If nothing matters, there’s nothing to save”

E-Waist Management

October 27, 2010

The Problem

E-Waste has contributed to about 70% of the toxic chemicals in landfills today.  It is the largest and fastest growing recycling issue today.  What companies are doing is selling the electronics to underdeveloped countries like china where they melt down the products and pull out the valuable parts.  It is hurting the health of many people in the area.  One major problem being lead in children’s blood stream.  Through our proposal we will help to reduce these ill effects.

The Solution

Our proposal is of a solution is to hold an e-waste drive on OWU’s campus.  We would be asking for unused electronics of all sorts that students to not want. We would then recycle them through an American based company that recycles the waste by national standards.  This will reduce the current threat of e-waste pollution abroad. We will then document the operation and results of the E-waste drive and present the results in a power point format.

 

The Schedule

This Week- Organize our thoughts and send out a campus wide email stating the info about the drive.

Next Week- Work out the logistics of the operations of the drive itself. ( bins, personnel, money needed?, where to hold the event, etc.)

Week After- Market and advertise the event. (Facebook, OWU website?, Flyers, etc.)

Week After That- Hold the event and Document the results.

Week After After That- Create the power point presentation and present.

Tim Schmidt & Neil Michaels


Official Project Proposal

October 27, 2010

Justus Nethero

Geography 360

Project Proposal

 

What:   I will gather many different sites and areas of interest within Delaware County and collectively place them together to create an organized map.  This will document and make these areas easily accessible to anybody who wishes to get out and visit the natural areas within the county.

How:     I will arrange the data sets by township for ease of locating them.  I hope to have them all put onto a map, but small descriptive cards for each spot will be made showing a picture of each location with easy to read directions for getting there.


Emission Standards for Stinky Semis

October 27, 2010

It’s about time they set emission and fuel efficiency standards for these things. It’s disgusting seeing semis fart out that black/gray fumes into the air. These things have gigantic gas tanks, but the engines also gulp them down just as fast as it takes you to say “Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation”.

The EPA and DOT are working together to set these national standards. They’re saying that it’s a “win-win-win” situation because:

1. Decrease in environmental impact

2. They are lowering cost of transporting goods which means lower costs for consumers

3. Also means lower costs for businesses

Yay! Now we can all rejoice and hold hands. No! Not yet! What about hybrid trucks? I know nothing about engines, so I have no idea if a hybrid engine would be strong enough to power a multi-ton vehicle.

They say that the standards will take affect in 2014 (why not now?) and we will see the change affect 2018 models (again, why not now?)

Check out the story.

http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/41927


New Tactic in California for Paying Pollution Bill

October 27, 2010

This article is addressing the problem in the San Joaquin Valley.  Attempts have been made to clean the air and failed miserably.  The area has paid about $29 million in fines for exceeding  the federal ozone limits.  The new proposed strategy is going to be getting millions of drivers to pay more of the costs.  The bill just has to be passed.  There would be about an annual surcharge of $10 to $24 on registration fees for the region.  There is about 2.7 million registered vehicles in the area.  This is a great idea and people need to realize that there actions have to paid for.  It really is not that much to charge people when you look at the benefits that could come from it.  For once the penalty is being put on the consumers who are producing the smog.  Not the producers of the products.


Eating Animals

October 27, 2010

Interesting points

  • Taking care of others versus ourselves – what drives it? – pride, love, selfishness

“if we were one day to encounter an form of life more powerful and intelligent than our own, and it regarded us as we regard fish, what would be our argument against being eaten?”

(war, extermination, spirit of domination, technology)

  • “what we forget about animals we begin to forget about ourselves.” – physical and biological similarities mainly? Is this related to how we came to define ourselves in/out of nature and nature itself?

The symbolism of animals:

“Factory farming’s success depends on consumers nostalgic images of food production – the fisherman reeling in fish, the pig farmer knowing each of his pigs individually, the turkey rancher watching beaks break through eggs – because these images correspond to something we respect and trust.” – i.e. Food Inc.’s “integrity”

The symbols that animals carry to us – the wolf, the panda, the polar bear

  • All are equal but some are more equal than other:

Which right is greater? – our right to eat or the animals’ right to a life and/or a death not excruciating

Whose fault? – Consumers who want cheap food (out of necessity VS out of gluttony) or farmers who grow cheap food (for profit VS for a living)

  • Public policy:

Asia and pragmatism VS West and idealism

A question that set me thinking was: as a civil servant should we plan for shortages in our supply (of food, goods, services)by planning for a change in lifestyle? Or should we continue on a path of trying to meet citizens’ expectations for their ideal lifestyles, whether it is realistic or not?

So, how realistic is realistic?