Friday, August 28, 2015

Freebie Friday 8.28.15: Explore the Great Barrier Reef without Getting Wet

Last week Google added Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to the extensive list of modern and ancient world heritage sites that you can explore online as part of Google’s World Wonders Project.

That is correct. You and users across the globe can now travel through The Great Barrier Reef on Google Street View. Google partnered with the Catlin Seaview Survey, who used a special camera to capture the images. The Catlin Seaview Survey is a global study monitoring the health of the world’s coral reefs. According to the survey’s website, there has been a 40% loss of corals around the globe in the last 30 years

The images are beautiful, but the survey’s work could not be more serious. The Catlin Seaview Survey is “creating a baseline record of the world’s coral reefs, in high-resolution 360-degree panoramic vision. It will enable change to be clearly monitored over time and will help scientists, policy makers and the public at large to see and understand the issues reefs are facing and work out what needs to be done to best protect coral reefs now and into the future.”

The partnership with Google is helping to raise awareness of this problem.

The voyage starts here

TGIF. Have a great weekend. 

FYI Why a piñata? Just like a blog link, unless you open it, you won’t know what’s inside.














Friday, August 21, 2015

Ten Things to Love About IKEA

In 2003, I thought I wanted a mall to come to New Haven. I wanted Macy’s back. And a Nordstrom’s. I was tired of having to drive out of town to buy shoes and underwear.

Instead we became the first city in New England to get an IKEA.

I have come to love this store and this company. 

Here are a few of the reasons why:
  • When IKEA installed solar panels on its roof in 2012, it was the largest array of solar panels in the state
  • IKEA is a good source of local jobs and the workers seem happy to work there.
  • Coffee is always free if you join the Family (free membership). 
  • Its restaurant offers a great view of the city (and the I-95 construction project) and is a great place to have a business meeting or a study group.
  • It is the perfect place to burn off some calories when the weather outside is too hot or too cold to go for a long walk. And it is always fun to imagine what it would be like to live in the various sized display “homes” where there always seems to be ample space until you realize the occupants have no personal possessions.
  • IKEA has a convenient “wall” for responsible recycling many types of items including spent CFLs and rechargeable batteries.
  • The grocery section is stocked with a variety of organic products including drinks and jams.
  • As of this month most of their seafood is MSC or ASC certified. 
  • The restaurant now has a VEGAN alternative to the famed meatball plate. Since spring vegetable balls GRÖNSAKSBULLAR have been on the menu. The ingredients will vary with the seasons. The GRÖNSAKSBULLAR currently on the menu have a kale base and come with a side of steamed vegetables and cauliflower “gravy.” Very tasty. Every day can be Meatless Monday at IKEA!

AND…
You can read more about sustainable IKEA here.

I choose IKEA over a mall any day.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Signs of Change 7.31.15

All around New Haven there are signs of change, real signs… 

The Yale campus is dotted with signs proclaiming “Urban Meadow” – patches of landscape, planted with wildflower seeds and sparsely tended. The unkempt appearance of some of these plots may be a little tough to get used to, but this “Meadow” (about a mile from downtown New Haven) is a wonder to behold — a sea of Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) in full bloom. 


Rudbeckia hirta, a plant native to all the lower 48 states, is a member of the aster family. It can tolerate a wide range of soils and temperatures, and has no major insect or disease pests. You can read more about Rudbeckia hirta on this USDA factsheet

Its flowers attract nectar seeking bees, butterflies, and insects. Its seeds attract birds, as the poop-covered sign above attests. The companion website to the movie Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us? recommends planting a large volume of the same type of bee-friendly flowers  in your garden or yard to provide bees with forage. One of the suggestions is Rudbeckia hirta.

These plants bloom from June to October. Note that they do tend to crowd out other flowers growing near them. But if you love Black-Eyed Susans, have lots of sun and plenty of space, and don’t have time to weed, Rudbeckia hirta is the plant for you. 

This particular Urban Meadow is located on upper Prospect Street near the northern border of Yale’s main campus, in front of the planetarium, nestled between Farnam Gardens and Betts House.