Saturday Linkages: Battling Herbicides, Solar Wall Ovens and Jaywalking

Solar wall oven. Photo: Natural Building Blog

Solar wall oven. Photo: Natural Building Blog

Rachel Aviv: The Scientist Who Took on a Leading Herbicide Manufacturer http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/02/10/140210fa_fact_aviv?currentPage=all?mbid=social_retweet …

Consider the Cane Toad http://ensia.com/voices/consider-the-cane-toad/ …

Commercial Solar Wall Ovens http://feedly.com/e/nrC8gJXU 

Wilson Solar Grill for outdoor cooking http://www.examiner.com/article/wilson-solar-grill-for-outdoor-cooking …

America’s public transit routes, mapped: http://boingboing.net/2014/02/06/americas-public-transit-rout.html …

LA residents: The city offers free native trees for street planting. Coast Live Oaks are approved as street trees! http://environmentla.org/pdf/2014/Theodore_Payne_Foundation_FlyerTA.pdf …

Documenting the NYC snowpocalypse’s neckdowns: latent traffic calming revealed by climate and crowds: http://boingboing.net/2014/02/05/documenting-the-nyc-snowpocaly.html …

Tom Vanderbilt in NYT: Jaywalking Tickets Don’t Make Streets Safer http://feedly.com/e/V1mmSoBo 

Decoding News Helicopter Signals on YouTube http://feedly.com/e/5p1EiKdZ 

The Flying Tortoise: If You’re A Gardener And A Chess Player, Check Out… http://theflyingtortoise.blogspot.com/2014/01/if-youre-gardener-and-chess-player.html?spref=tw …

Driving Apps Are Incompatible With Safe Driving http://feedly.com/e/TaIIlCln 

California’s Drought and What To Do About It

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By this summer, due to the worst drought in memory, California will resemble the desert planet Arakis in Frank Herbert’s novel Dune. Not only will we be watering our lawns less, we’ll be drinking our own urine. Knife fights with a bikini clad Sting will break out and we’ll be trading our bikes for rides on the over-sized worms emerging from our compost bins. But I digress. Let’s cover what we’re doing at the Root Simple compound.

  • We’ve expanded our drought tolerant plantings over the past few years. These plants use less water and encourage beneficial wildlife. I consider them part of the vegetable garden, in a way.
  • I just made a major change to our laundry to landscape greywater system–more on this in another post.
  • I’ve consulted historical irrigation data to more intelligently program our drip irrigation system.

Keep in mind that 77% of California’s water use goes to agriculture (the media tends to forget this). Residential water use is a small part of the total. That being said, there’s a lot more we can do–the residents of Sydney Australia use half as much water per person as Californians in a similar climate.

I’m fairly certain we’ll eke our way out of this crisis but I’m not sure about the next one. In the meantime I’ll be walking without rhythm so as not to attract those big worms.

What are you doing to deal with the drought? If you’re outside of California, how are you surviving those arctic vortexes?

Mystery Weed Identified: Geranium Molle

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A number of Root Simple readers identified a plant that springs up in our backyard every winter. It’s Geranium molle.

Readily pollinated by hymenoptera, Geranium molle has two popular names: Dovefoot Geranium and Awnless Geranium.

Native to the Mediterranean, it was introduced to North America. The Plants for a Future database has a reference to the use of Geranium molle on wounds (Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants). Other than that, it’s not an exciting plant from a human perspective.