Monthly Archives: May 2007

Day 104: WLwC, stumble upon and Mac Maintenance

So, I’ve had the Stumble-upon tool bar up for about a week now and generally lovin it–it’s a pretty slick way of pushing content that you might actually be interested in. Yesterday, though, I wasn’t so sure.

I had a moment before my next appt and decided to just check what’s out there and clicked on the video icon. What I got, based on my profile which included that I’m a vegetarian, was the vid narrated by Alex Baldwin called Meet your Meat . I made it through about 2 minutes of it. It was so disturbing… and yet important–but I’ve already gone through the loss-of-denial process around the meat industry so I didn’t want to see it again.

Bottom line: if you think you might want to become vegetarian, watch it–it’ll speed that transition along nicely. If you still want to enjoy those steak dinners or pork chops, don’t go there. I really can’t imagine it not impacting you.

Just to balance things out, I used stumble-upon (is this kind of an “I feel lucky” google feature on steroids?) to surf a little and found this excellent veg-head recipe for a dinner that I’ll be trying out very soon. Apparently I didn’t lose my appetite completely.

My pal at NorthofNormal has a spring cleaning list for Mac users out there. Check it out, I’m running some of the apps on my system later today. Thanks Bri!

Daily Stats (Thursday)

Car: 0
Bike: 0
Foot: approx 3 miles
Bus: 0

Day 102 & 103: WLwC and doing more, not less

Seth Godin has a recent post about global climate change and marketing. I hate it that the two are inextricably connected, but they are. His point: don’t ask people to do less, ask them to do more. We, as humans (at least in this hemisphere and on this continent), are hard-wired for more–we don’t like less.

I agree with the more idea and think we can expand it endlessly, whereas less can be sort of a dead-end discussion.

In fact, I think that’s what we’ve been discussing here for the last few months–do more! Walk more, recycle more, compost more…and in its own systemic way, those actions will lead to less. No muss, no fuss.

greenfist.jpg

For example, compost more. At our house, a few months ago we began taking advantage of Seattle’s compost program wherein you can put veggie/food scraps in your yardwaste bin, which then goes into a massive composting process and becomes the basis for gorgeous flower and P-patch beds all over the city. We’ve done it big-time: recently when taking the garbage out, it seemed almost empty…and it was! The only thing in it was a couple of bags of cat-sand. We’d managed to compost and re-use almost everything during the week.

So, do you think Godin’s onto something when he says do more, not less and what kinds of good-more are you seeing in your neck of the woods in response to climate change?

Daily stats (Tuesday and Wednesday)

Car: 0
Bike: approx 10 miles
Foot: 3.5
Bus: 0

Day 101: WLwC and seattle bus genius

Carla Saulter–Bus Chick— writes in Real Change about a couple of local guys who are Rapid Transit Geniuses. The first is Christian French who has turned bus-riding into an art–literally!–and is sharing his work at the SOIL gallery. He describes his adventures as Transit-Hero like this:

“SuperHeroism: The Adventures of TransitMan catalogues the artist’s/Hero’s experiences to date and explores the questions that face us all with regards to the choices we make on a daily basis. If it is possible to change the world through simple acts, do we then have an obligation to do so? “

Then there’s Tom Bakker–aka “The Human Bus Summary”– who has been riding the bus since he was 6 years old on Capitol Hill and knows every bus schedule and route by heart. Carla tested him–he’s seriously a Rainman of Bus Schedules. There’s nowhere in the Northwest that he doesn’t know the bus schedule for–holy smokes. I have trouble just keeping my few West Seattle routes in mind.

seattle071.jpg
These two guys take mass transit to a whole new level–extremely cool.

Daily stats (Monday/holiday)
Car: 0
Bike: 0
Foot: approx 3.5 miles
Bus: 0

Day 100: WLwC, Lucinda Williams and Mytechvision

I was listening to Lucinda Williams’  new album “West” the other day, after talking with my partner about getting rid of my car–we’ve kind of decided that I should go one month without usage at all and see how that works before taking that step. Anyway, later I was humming along with the song Learning to Live Without You:

I’m learning how to live
without you in my life.

…and I laughed out loud: that’s how I’m feeling about my car!  It’s a learning process, there’s some grief, there’s some wistfulness but dang if there isn’t a whole lotta relief, too. Anyway, it’s a good old fashioned break-up song that took on a whole new meaning for me: I’m going to break up with my car.

Couple of speed links:

  • Great blog about all kindsa environmental activism and information all around the world. Nice job, Lazy Environmentalist!
  • World CarFree Day--not too early to check it out and join–every Sept. 22nd is a dedicated day to be free of your car–all around the globe!

Tom @ Mytechvision wrote a great comment on the Top 5 list, regarding #3 where it’s suggested you talk with your friends and everybody about your process of changing your transportation styles (ie, Learning to Live without Car). Tom tells a sweet story about item #3 (share your thoughts about alternative transportation) which I hope he won’t mind if I highlight here:

“I love point three and have living breathing example of how something like this works.
One of my students graduated from university recently and found himself out of work. When I asked what he did with his time he was ashamed to tell me that he didn’t do much. H helped his Grandmother (definitely commendable in this day and age) but not much else.
In a later class we were discussing the benefits of walking and the hassle of the car (It was like talking to a brick wall — a class of financial advisors with company cars and company fuel bills paid).
Anyway, something happened that class.
My student came back the following class announcing he had walked to school (3 hour walk)! I obviously congratulated him. I then thought nothing else about it as it was obviously a one off … right?
Wrong. He has been waking to class ever since. AND BACK!
I was very touched by this story.
Here was a student who used to drive to college every day. He now walks to and from English class (6 hours in total because he has little else to do) and he thoroughly appreciates it .
I am happy to say he has recently found a job with a marketing firm as a trainee. He mentioned that his car is going to stay in the garage. He might not be walking anymore but he will be catching the train.
This is clear evidence that “coming out” as a non car user can help others overcome their fears of not driving -)

Cool! Here’s my story: I’m not a hard-liner about driving/not-driving but I have a growing preference, for sure, which I’ve told my friends about. Tomorrow I’m having a birthday celebration with these friends and we’re all going downtown in the bus–we’re catching a movie, hanging out a little, and then back home for cake and treats and such. Our big birthday bus adventure!

Another story: my pal Bri (excellent new vid on his site, btw) is now discussing with his wife how to reduce their two cars to one and possibly make that one car a Prius. They’re figuring the logistics to make it happen and feel it could work. Also very cool.

So, the social network one creates around thinking differently about transportation –what’s your story?

Daily stats:

Car: 5 miles (2 people, 2 tasks)
Bike: 0 miles
Foot: massive yard work but not much else 🙂
Bus: 0

Day 99: MLwC and a top 5 list

Everybody loves lists so I thought I’d offer a quick one for the MLwC project and for those who might be trying to think differently about transportation in this post-peak-oil age.

Top 5 things to keep in mind (and Please! Add to this any thoughts you might have–I’m just making this list up on the basis of my experience so far)

1. The goal is to simply become more conscious of how you travel, where, when, why, with whom. That is, how many tasks can you combine in order to avoid multiple trips; how many people with tasks can you combine; why are you jumping in the car–are there other alternatives? Is the weather great and do you have a little time? If so, why not walk or bike? Just note what you’re doing–easy shmeasy.

2. Once you’re more aware, little personal contests help a lot. For example, at first I was aiming for a reduction of one day per week of no car usage–just one day. It was a very modest goal and it took a while to achieve it; it may have been a huge hurdle in retrospect. I’ve since completed two work weeks sans car usage without even breaking a sweat. Keep in mind that no car usage doesn’t mean staying home, locked up and out of action. I’ve taken buses, passenger ferries, my bike and of course, walking on my own two feet.

3. It help to let others know what you’re doing. Yeah–they’ll think you’re a freak, but if you’re reading this, you might already be a freak so who cares. Let them know that it’s a sort of game or experiment you’re doing–just to see. They’ll be curious, I’m betting, based on my own experience–and it’ll give everyone a chance to think a little differently about car usage. Especially let your signif-other in on it–who knows, you may be able to figure out some way to jointly think differently about getting around.

4. Make sure your other means of transportation are in good working order. If your bike sucks big time, it’ll be a pain (really!) to ride and you won’t want to continue. If you have to struggle with change for the bus, buy a packet of tickets or a pass–it’ll make life so much easier and you won’t give using the bus another thought. Also, I don’t know about your city, but most companies in the Seattle area do a lot to help their employees use mass transit–check it out. It’s usually the deal of a lifetime–some companies downtown offer their peeps what’s called a Puget Pass which lets you ride the train, the ferries, the buses–whatever, whenever. It’s an incredible deal.

5. This goes along with awareness, but as you move away from using your car as much, be aware when you do use your car–how does it feel? Notice any difference, a tad more sensitivity to traffic, congestion, stress, etc? Just be aware–maybe nothing in your perception will change, but maybe something will.

have great holiday weekend!

Daily Stats (Friday)
Car: 0
Bike: about 8 miles (we ended up riding to the beach for dinner;-)

foot: approx 12 blocks + approx 3 mile walk/run in the park
bus: approx 14 miles

Day 98: MLwC & and the Group Health Adventure

The other day I mentioned that the health profile I filled out online didn’t count “walking” as part of its exercise profile–me no likee. I got a couple of comments on that…Today was the actual physical with my actual doctor at Group Health Coop in Seattle.

First though, a quick note: their online site is great, and it interacts really well, has tons of options, so you can do a lot of stuff online, like make your appointments, speed through profiling questions, get history, and get results. Also note: I am about as far from a Medical Industrial Complex Consumer as you can get–I have a lot of contempt for the Industry and am pretty conservative in my use of it. So, if they make it easy and on my terms–so much the better.

Anyway, I mentioned to my doctor that the exercise part of the profile sort of sneered at walking and get this–he actually took notes so he could relay the info! Because his view is: the more people walking, the better. Yazza!

Second big thing: this was a general physical, which I don’t do often so when I do them, I do the whole kit-n-kaboodle. He was setting me up for a mammo and told me how to make an appt–and I stopped him and said is there anyway we can do this all today, like a one-stop deal? He kind of looked at me and I said, you know, I don’t live close and I think a lot about transportation issues….So he says, well let’s check it out. Maybe they’ll have an opening (he seemed a tad skeptical) He stayed on hold with the lab (interesting, I’ve always thought doctors didn’t have to be on hold with their labs) and finally gets through to someone who checks the calendar and sure enough: there’s a free appt in an hour and half.

capp.jpg

So here I am, sipping a capp at the Victrola, excellent place to be waiting for my appt, and when I leave, I’ll be done for the next couple of years.

Again, got me to thinking about how our culture is set up around the car. The doc never really thought about my returning, it was just built into the system–of course you’ll just drive home and then drive back and do exam another day. Brings me to another issue on their website: it didn’t allow me to make an appointment in advance, even though I absolutely knew I’d be getting labwork. If there was a pre-screening or sort of automatic recognition of exam dates, you could have the option of pre-scheduling the standard lab/exam items, negating the need to return at all.

Oh, and one last thing: I want them to not send me hard copies of my results and put everything in my account online–can they do that? Yes, they can! So, this is the kind of customer centric focus I’d like to see in this Industry. Let me choose when, how, where I interact with the company!

Hey Dr. Thayer–if you’re out there, howdy!

PS: kudos to Diana for forwarding this link for checking carbon footprint. Interesting stuff, and great to have this available to anyone/everyone who wants it!

Daily stats (Thoisday)

Car: 20.4 miles (3 tasks)

Bike: 0
Foot: 8 blocks
Bus: 0

Day 97: MLwC & SP, baby, SP!

Solar Power!

solar2.jpg

We’re considering installing solar energy modules on our roof–nothing I would ever have expected to consider here in the mostly soggy northwest, but the technology has improved so much that it’s becoming a viable option.

Here’s an article about a standard installation; it describes the process of installing these new super thin and unobtrusive modules on your roof. The article also discusses the outlay of cash, and the homeowner’s reasons for going ahead and doing it.

The outlay of cash, by the way, is offset by massive tax deductions–both federal, and likely, local (nod to Senator Cantwell). Then, if you’ve got it set up right, and you continue your energy efficient ways, there’s a very good chance you can put excess energy back into the grid–making your meter run backwards, in effect–and actually make money on the deal. This made headlines during the rolling brown outs of the Enron age in California and highlighted an attractive plus to the alternate energy source. This chart shows the rapid increase of alternative energy into the grid during that time (2001-02):

Solar energy on the grid

So, here in Seattle, we’ve got a small start up company that installs these systems. We’re going to have them out to evaluate our house and see if we might be able to install a system, cost, long term picture, etc. They charge $80 for the evaluation but they’re a small shop and the evaluation is extensive, about a half day’s work with a written plan afterwards. We haven’t sched’d the eval yet, but we’re getting ready to.

I mean, you know it’s coming. It’s just a matter of time.

🙂

Daily stats (Wednesday)

Car: 0
Bike: 0
Foot: 3.5 walk/run
Bus: 0
Internet: 4 countries and many states.

Day 96: MLwC and the walking thang

(MLwC = My Life w Car, a year long project to become generally conscious of transportation habits.)

B2 had so many good points in his comment to Day 95, I hardly know where to begin. He’s right, of course–most urban and certainly suburban areas in the U.S. are built for cars. Especially here in the western U.S. It’s a sad truth, and changing that feature will be an uphill battle.

Germany gets high marks for its progressive and strong Green Party so it’s not surprising they encourage mass transit, bikes, and walking to the degree they do. But many of the cities are also very old–like really old–and those wonderful cobbled streets simply aren’t made for cars. They’d have to retool the whole city for cars…kinda like what they’d have to do for most US cities in order to make them more pedestrian/bike friendly.

When the mayor of Seattle recently announced his plan to make bikes an attractive alternative transportation option, I recall someone wrote into the local newspaper decrying the idea since, good lord, people on bikes don’t buy anything! Why would our tax dollars go to a group that can’t buy anything? It was a depressing and eye-opening response…not to mention ridiculous. Our entire culture is literally built on going and buying. Everything in our infrastructure makes those two things easy…and other things less so.

My friend Brian said: imagine closing one entire street the length of Seattle and opening it up to pedestrians and cyclists. Imagine the traffic you’d get. And imagine the cafes, the stores, the theatres that could spring up along that route.

Well, I’d love to see it–I could see it in my mind instantly. But we’d have to retool everything.

And speaking of retooling–another conversation later with Yo raised the question of “why do we just automatically think we need to drive?” I’m thinking it’s because we’ve been raised with movies and adverts and pictures of people having the time of their lives, roaring down the coast highway, zipping around gorgeous empty curves overlooking the pacific ocean…and by now we’re hardwired to believe that image over our own experience–of bottle-necked freeways, smog, the price of gas, congestion, noise, maintenance, etc.

quantum-leap-car-730928.jpg Now here’s the real question: isn’t it a coincidence that what we call “cool” just happens to be something that can be commoditized and packaged easily (a car and a lifestyle) while something as normal as apple pie is simply not cool at all, not commoditized, not packaged, not marketable? I’m talking about walking, of course.

Daily stats (Tuesday)
Car: 0
Bike: 10 miles
Bus: approx 1.5 miles
West Seattle Water Taxi: approx 1.5 miles
Foot: approx 6 blocks

Walking, and how to think about “transportation”

Tom followed up yesterday’s piece on walking with a great entry of his own–with gorgeous snaps of his daily route through Lisbon–including time, transportation mode (mostly walking) and some thoughts about the added benefits of not driving. It reads at time like a poem, at other times like a mini-travelogue.

Jodene followed up this morning with a comment on her own walking method and a tangential thought about the long term (very nice nod to investment strategies!) benefits of walking–intellectual, physical, emotional, environmental.

So, I got to thinking: how cool would it be to get feedback from anyone/everyone who actually shakes it up in the transportation department. Those who are doing something other than the regular single-car/single-passenger-moving-through-urban space routine–and what you think about it. What does your transportation method allow you that you would not get from driving?

This would be more than a survey with radio buttons. This would be postcards from the urban-travel edge. We’ll see, maybe it could work.

Day 95: MLWC and walking–what a concept!

Tom writes in this entry about how weird people think it is to walk even the most minimal amount–like it’s wrong somehow, which is an interesting idea. I think the response is is tied up with our overly-scheduled time-freak culture and the onslaught of marketing from Day One that encourages us to 1)get somewhere, 2)get somewhere fast, and 3) get somewhere easy. If you can look cool while doing it, so much the better. People who need to get somewhere have interesting lives, right?

When I first started this project of tracking how I get around, what I do, and why I do it, I have to admit, walking wasn’t a big part of my plan for transportation. Mainly because I was really pretty mindless about the whole gotta-get-somewhere-fast thing.

473034-alki_point-seattle.jpg

Walking still isn’t as big a part of my consciousness as I’d like (but there’s time and summer’s just about the best time for walking in Seattle as anywhere on the planet) but I do like to run/jog through the park and down by the beach. And the walk clears my head like nothing else. It’s really–really–like nothing else. And beats the hell out of driving, which irritates me, and I’m guessing lots of other people, considering how cranky people are on the road.

But check this out: do a google search for “walk more” , the first hits are interesting. Also, take a look at 43 things and you’ll be pleased to see how many people put “walk more” on their list of things they really want to do. The will is there, and when gas prices go over 5 bucks a gallon, I’m betting we’ll all be looking a tad trimmer.

An interesting thing: I filled out a profile for a physical and it asked for exercise information. Under the moderate part, it specifically noted that walking didn’t count–in fact, walking didn’t count in any of the sections. But come on, do you really think we’d be the fattest nation in the universe if people walked more?

Daily Stats: (Monday)
Car: 0
Bike:0
Foot: 3.5 miles
Bus: 0

Day 94: MLWC and Go, Al, Go!

Al Gore is a founding partner, with David Blood, in an investment firm that focuses on environmentally progressive enterprises. They toyed with the name of the firm, ala Blood & Gore but demurred. Anyhoo, officially and preferably known as Generation Investment Management, the two founders explain their approach here.

What really struck me about their management style:

  • they must have used the words long term about 50 times in the article–I love that. Most companies are only looking at the quarter, under pressure from the market, and I truly think this is doing us all a great disservice. Just look what short term quarterly report shenanigans have gotten us into–Enron, Worldcom, etc.
  • short term investing gives up the value of building a strong biz foundation.
  • they research specifically how a company is responding to our current and growing limited ecological systems; they’re focused on long term issues like building an infrastructure that will significantly reduce carbon budget and reduce waste (less waste=more $).
  • Did I mention long term?

They also smartly distinguish between “socially conscious investment” which can and does often include companies like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart because these, and other companies, have learned how to beat the “check-list” approach to hiring, benefit packages, etc. I find I have to look very closely at the portfolios of lots of “socially conscious” investment funds to make sure I’m not investing in a company I literally want nothing to do with.

Al Gore has also released his new book, Assault on Reason (see my “pile ‘o’ books by the bed, right nav); his timing is impeccable–he can leave the door open for a fervent recruitment to run for prez again and he doesn’t sound like sour grapes. If he’d written a book like this two years after the election he won/lost, he would have had no credibility. A real testament–whether you like the guy or not–to waiting for the right moment to act.

Daily Stats: Sunday
Car: 6.5 miles (2 people, 3 tasks)
Bike: 0
Foot: here and there
Bus: 0

Day 92 & 93: MLWC, some green links and Measuring KM

A bunch of green specific websites are springing up. They sort of remind me of the early days in the gay&lesbian community when everything had to be really gay&lesbian and only gay&lesbian or it didn’t count. Things are much more mainstreamed now and that’s a good thing in many ways–hopefully the path to mainstreaming green living, green concerns, green investing will be faster, smoother, better.

So, without further ado:
Greener.com, a green search engine. If you want to find something, but want to narrow the field to green, here’s your engine.
Greenmaven, another search engine that also includes social awareness along with greeniness in its search results.
Hugg is like Digg but with a green angle. This one’s pretty interesting and since I have found myself having a hard time categorizing green stories adequately in Digg, I’m liking the alternative.
Inhabitat is a beautiful blog discussing sustainable design of all kinds. It’s gorgeous in a West Coast Zen kind of way.

And now for something completely different: measuring the effectiveness of KM. Suarez in his blog discusses the ongoing question of measuring KM–to prove its worth to everyone from end users to IT, to Veeps, etc. He despairs of finding an adequate answer to the ongoing question and I don’t blame him. KM usage, wikis, blogs, etc are all experiential and viral in their best cases; like I ranted in my post yesterday, KM of all stripes is a haven for command-and-control management and the insistence on measurement is a key indicator of command-and-control style.

That said, I don’t live in such a fantasy land that I think we’ll get rid of measurement any time soon. I introduced wikis to a very large, global computer maker and the biggest difficulty we had in the process was trying to get them to think differently about “measurement.” I don’t think we succeeded, and as a result, even though the wiki is successful in terms of adoption, the lack of meaningful (read: corporate) measurement has all but made the wiki invisible to upper echalons of management. They can’t talk about it in numbers, so they disregard it. Fortunately, the wiki itself, intended for front line users, can live quite happily without a lot of attention.

My ongoing philosophical question: has Excel made life better or worse or something in between? We now use it because we can–for anything and everything. It’s a fabulous tool…I just wish sometimes we could put it down and thinking differently about things.

Daily stats:
Car: 0
Bike: 10.2 miles
Foot: 0
Bus:0

Day 92 & 93: MLWC plus Command-and-Control Knowledge

Alright, it’s about time “My Life w Car” got its own acronym, doncha think? So, here we go: MLWC. For a while, I’ll link back to day 90 for an explanation of the project and then, once it’s so common place that I hear it on the nightly news, I’ll stop linking 😉

Command and Control Knowledge “Management.”
I consult on operational issues relating to the customer and the front-line worker—that vital connection between the company and the public. Of late, that connection has shown some wear and tear. Its been commoditized as companies try to manage costs—and when they try to manage costs, they head for the frontline first. They buy software, dream of robotic systems, outsource their service—not because it’s better but because they hope it will make the problem of the frontline-to-customer relationship go away.

Knowledge Management, in all its many forms, is a command-and-control oasis. With very few exceptions (and those exceptions are basically Web 2.0 leaders), companies desperately hang onto the notion that they should, and can, control the information that flows from the agent to the customer. This subverts the agent’s role into that of a robot and so far in all my agent observations, I’ve yet to meet a robot.

Internet-based knowledge sharing—wikis, blogs, online collaboration tools—is both revolutionary and elegant. It engages people at an intuitive level and collects tacit knowledge in natural, accessible ways. Legal will hate it, IT will distrust it, Management will eschew it because they don’t understand it. The New Knowledge Sharing–how many more Knowledge acronyms can we bear??–which will take place online is the one innovation that will engage the front-line, enable JIT knowledge transfer, help the customer, and give command-and-control management style a run for its money. I know where I’m placing my bets.

A couple of articles to consider about this issue:

    A local fave rave consulting group, Ramp Group, has some interesting thoughts about knowledge and content sharing on their blog.

    Here’s a great rundown of articles tackling the problem of knowledge sharing across global groups and in enterprises–note the dates of the articles, the more recent ones are coming to the same conclusions as above.

Daily Stats:
Car: 13 miles (1 person/3 tasks)
Bike: 0
Bus: 0

Note: Jorge Gajardos Rojas from Chile wrote yesterday to ask why I don’t just walk? He lives close to work and ammenities and walks daily. Such a great question–most Americans don’t walk unless it’s for leisure. We don’t walk to the grocery store, for sure. We couldn’t carry back the massive amount of stuff we buy. But elsewhere in the world people walk everywhere, daily. I’ve walked to the grocery store a few times in this project but haven’t kept track of it; I imagine if I walked to the store daily, I wouldn’t have to pay for a gym membership. Thanks Jorge!

Tiger Mosaic

endaacatsmanchuriantiger.jpg

I’ve written about Wildlife Alliance (nee WildAid) before and just checked their newly evolving site to see what they’re up to. It’s a good site, with lots of interesting drill-down…one of them being The Tiger Mosaic.

You have got to check out The Tiger Mosaic. As most probably know, Tigers and other endangered animals are being hunted to extinction for fur and mythical aphrodisiac qualities–the most ridiculous and unenlightened thing I can imagine: killing an animal for its fur or body parts for their “special powers.” Good lord, people, will we ever evolve?

But back to The Tiger Mosaic: this is very cool. By signing up, you submit a picture of yourself that will become part of a massive (truly massive) mosaic depicting the tiger’s gorgeous countenance. The mosaic itself is amazing–go there if only to check that out. Also notable: our tax dollars at work, check their partnership with DFW (Dept of Fish & Wildlife).

Wildlife Alliance is an exceptional organization–very smart, very efficient, very passionate. Hang out in their site for a little while–it’s beautiful.

Day 91: My Life w Car + SBUX’ benevolent self-interest

Starbucks has created an online VR game for learning about carbon footprint, alternative transportation, etc. It’s called Planet Green Game and like all VR games, you choose a personality and then head out on your “adventure.” You choose your transporation options, you go to different places and then you get points (or demerits) for your actions and choices. Kinda dull, but I do recommend going to the Movies as soon as possible–they’ve got some indie shorts that are pretty good and worth watching.

The site also offers Starbucks itself as part of your virtual city adventure–and I sort of thought: not only are they on every corner, now they’re on every virtual corner, too. But hey. Starbucks does a lot of good, green stuff so I give them some points for this–credit where credit is due. They, in turn, gave me about 3500 points before I signed off and called me a Journeyman–not sure what that meant or if I could have been more if I’d stayed on longer? Maybe kids would like it–it’s sorta fun, so check it out.

Tom over at Mytechvision has an interesting article about new solar power plant project that use mirrors and water towers. The mirrors reflect the sunlight back into the tower heating the water to like 400C or so which creates enough energy to heat 6000 homes. This makes me think of something off the wall: a 1987 movie named Bagdad Cafe–great flick, see it if you haven’t. Anyway, one of the characters paints these desert scenes wherein a blinding light radiates from the horizon; the main character, Jasmine, thinks this is a mystical light but in the end it’s revealed that this light is actually from a solar power plant. So my question is: has this technology been around for a while?
bagdad_cafe.jpg

Finally, a review of hard-nosed reasons big businesses might be compelled to go green–nothing new here, and that’s what’s news. The same practices that are in place in the best companies will find an affinity with green initiatives: eliminating waste, how to leverage price differentials, market share through leadership, new studies showing environmentally sound companies are more efficient and well run overall–and tend to attract a better hiring pool. Interesting opinion piece here.

Daily Stats:

Car: 0
Bike: 0
Bus: approx 15 miles
f/c: 0