Saturday Linkages: Sidewalk Koi, Papercrete, Jaywalking and How to Grow Fresh Air

Wendy Tremayne and Mikey Sklar's papercrete

Wendy Tremayne and Mikey Sklar’s papercrete masterpiece.

Interventions
Sidewalk Koi http://greenroofgrowers.blogspot.com/2013/08/sidewalk-koi.html …

Worker sent to remove graffiti finds image of himself on the same wall hours later http://fw.to/wOjTzDJ

Let’s Build A Traditional City (And Make A Profit) http://www.andrewalexanderprice.com/blog20130330.php …

Building
Tiny Tea House on Wheels http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/lloydkahn/~3/D2Xib4vOfeY/tiny-tea-house-on-wheels.html …

Straatlokaal Dumpster Structures http://tinyhouseblog.com/construction-articles/straatlokaal-dumpster-structures/ …

Building with Papercrete at the Good Life Lab : http://wp.me/p22K2I-1mgi 

Straw Bale Dome Home in France http://www.naturalbuildingblog.com/straw-bale-dome-home-in-france/ …

Do-it-yourself Pole-barn Building http://www.naturalbuildingblog.com/do-it-yourself-pole-barn-building/ …

Fitness
Healthy Design: 3 Core Engaging Chairs http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/three-unusual-ergonomic-task-chairs-191874 …

Gardening
How to Grow Fresh Air http://www.naturalbuildingblog.com/how-to-grow-fresh-air/ …

Secret Garden of Survival – How to Grow a Camouflaged Food Forest http://www.naturalbuildingblog.com/secret-garden-of-survival-how-to-grow-a-camouflaged-food-forest/ …

How Flora Grubb and an Airport DJ Saved My Soul by Allen Bush http://gardenrant.com/2013/07/how-flora-grubb-and-an-airport-dj-saved-my-soul.html?utm_source=feedly …

Troubles
On Rooftops, a Rival for Utilities http://nyti.ms/15luRcD

The Invention of Jaywalking Was a Massive Shaming Campaign http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/the-invention-of-jaywalking-was-a-massive-shaming-campa-858926923 …

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LA Cracks Down On Parkway Vegetable Gardens


Our clueless, incompetent and backwards city government here in Los Angeles apparently has nothing better to do than crack down on parkway vegetable gardens two years after hassling Ron Finley. Steve Lopez, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, wrote a great column about this ridiculous situation, “L.A. still saying parkway vegetable gardens must go.” And above you can hear Lopez joined by Finley and Councilman Bernard Parks (who sounds like the president of an excuse factory) discuss the situation.

Please Tweet, Facebook, email and otherwise spread the word. My hometown government needs some international ridicule.

The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Ignorance

Henry David Thoreau

I’m turning over the blog today to Henry David Thoreau, who has kindly taken a break from running his pencil factory to blog for free:

We have heard of a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. It is said that Knowledge is power; and the like. Methinks there is equal need of a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Ignorance, what we will call Beautiful Knowledge, a knowledge useful in a higher sense; for what is most of our boasted so — called knowledge but a conceit that we know something, which robs us of the advantage of our actual ignorance? What we call knowledge is often our positive ignorance; ignorance our negative knowledge. By long years of patient industry and reading of the newspapers, — for what are the libraries of science but files of newspapers? — a man accumulates a myriad facts, lays them up in his memory, and then when in some spring of his life he saunters abroad into the great Fields of thought, he as it were goes to grass like a horse, and leaves all his harness behind in the stable. I would say to the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, sometimes — Go to grass. You have eaten hay long enough. The Spring has come with its green crop. The very cows are driven to their country pastures before the end of May; though I have heard of one unnatural farmer who kept his cow in the barn and fed her on hay all the year round. So, frequently the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge treats its cattle.

A man’s ignorance sometimes is not only useful, but beautiful, while his knowledge, so called, is oftentimes worse than useless beside being ugly. Which is the best man to deal with, he who knows nothing about a subject, and what is extremely rare, knows that he knows nothing, — or he who really knows something about it, but thinks that he knows all?

My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my desire to bathe my head in atmospheres unknown to my feet is perennial and constant. The highest that we can attain to is not Knowledge, but Sympathy with Intelligence. I do not know that this higher knowledge amounts to anything more definite than a novel and grand surprise on a sudden revelation of the insufficiency of all that we called Knowledge before — a discovery that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy. It is the lighting up of the mist by the sun. Man cannot know in any higher sense than this, any more than he can look serenely and with impunity in the face of the sun: “You will not perceive that as perceiving a particular thing,” say the Chaldean Oracles

–From Walking, written in 1862. Read the rest here.

Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent or LED?

Thomas Edison shows off a big-ass light bulb.

Thomas Edison shows off a big-ass light bulb.

What kind of light bulb to buy, as it turns out, is not easy question to answer. Energy consultant and off grid expert Dan Fink has an informative story in this month’s issue of Home Power Magazine, “Choosing the Right Light” that takes a look at the bewildering array of choices and what bulbs might be best in terms of cost, energy conservation and aesthetics.

Some takeaways:

  • The current way of comparing bulbs–lumens per watt–does not take into account how the eye responds to color. Incandescent bulbs give off a wide spectrum of light. Fluorescents and, to a lesser extent, LEDs do not give off as wide a spectrum of light which can make a room lit with them seem dimmer. In some situations incandescents can be a better choice.
  • LEDs are good for task lighting due to the directional quality of LED light. They are not so good for lighting an entire room.
  • Many compact florescents (CFL) will have short lifespans if you put them in sealed, enclosed or recessed lighting fixtures. You also have to check the label and perhaps even call the manufacturer to figure out if a CFL will work in a horizontal, base-up or base-down fixture.
  • CFLs perform poorly if turned on and off without at least 15 to 30 minutes to warm up.
  • CFLs contain mercury and other toxins and must be disposed of responsibly.
  • Stick to major brands. Avoid non-UL-listed cheap import bulbs.

A trip to the light bulb aisle at the hardware store is likely to stay confusing for some time. Manufactures are coming out with many new bulbs including more efficient incandescents as well as game changing LEDs and CFLs. And, according the article, the government may consider other factors such as color frequency in its light bulb ratings. Fink quotes Mark Rea, a lighting expert at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, “It’s still the wild, wild West out there with residential lighting and consumers still have to choose by trial and error.”