Tree Transplant

Tree Transplant
Getting a little tree transplant in cold, grey Washington, D.C. today. 



Sadly, the new trees, without any leaves, look more dead than alive. 



Sort of funny (-sad) how we pour infinite amounts of concrete and build up our cities, until there is little to no natural green spaces anymore (unless you go get yourself to the neighborhood park or run on weekends to burbs). 



We call in the tree transplant folks to line that narrow strip around our sidewalks with a few trees and we call it a day.



Urban sprawl is leaving us with stoic concrete and steel, but very little natural warmth and beauty. 



A few sad looking sapplings can’t make up for the lush forests and living landscape that we’re destroying. ;-)



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Superhero Socks

POW Socks
Thought these socks were pretty cool.



POW!

WHAM!

ZAAP!

KAPOW!

SPLAT!



We are living in an age with potential for great upheaval whether from terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, bigotry and social inequality, national debts and unpaid social entitlements, poverty and pandemics, global warming and environmentally unsustainable practices, and the clash of Western and Eastern civilizations. 



Thank G-d for advances in technology and innovation to help address these huge challenges of our time. 



However, whoever is portraying everything as all rosy or telling you to just be optimistic and all will be well–they’re feeding you a bunch of you know what!



We need a superhero/Messiah leader to come help us save the day and these socks would be perfect for their arrival. ;-)



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Soccer Soda On Metro


Watch what happens when people leave their trash on the Metro (Washington, DC). 



In this case, it’s a bottle and this one guy in jeans can’t seem to get rid of it. 



It’s sort of hilarious. 



First, the bottle is dumped by an uncaring passenger, it rolls around for awhile, and ends up sitting in the middle of the train car. 



The train stops at the station and the people coming aboard step around and over the water bottle. 



This guy in the center is irked by this bottle and just sort of blatantly kicks it at a women in winter boots standing by the doors. 



But it eventually rolls back and hits him in the foot.



He’s talking away (blah blah) on his cell, yet maneuvers the bottle ever so discretely to roll it backwards to someone else



But it ends up right back at him twice more.



Next stop, he runs off the train (and away from this bottle), but the person behind him kicks it after him and towards the doors.



Then this one lady with the orange bag and red purse gets up from her seat, and gives it a big kick right out the door.



She does this while the other people are boarding…oops watch out for the flying bottle.



Garbage left on the Metro…Goal! Score! ;-)



(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

Money, It’s Something

Poverty

Just an observation today about there being so much poverty in the Nation’s capital and around the country.

Homeless, hungry, and sick people on the streets in one of the richest countries in the world.

Yet, we have trillions going overseas to fight wars with seemingly little to no tangible benefits.

And so much ostensible waste with pork barrel politics, inefficiencies, and failed projects.

A relative joked with me the other day saying, “It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor as long as you have money!”

Here we borrow money ($17.6 trillion ) and print money and the Federal Reserve buys debt ($4.1 trillion ) to keep interest rates low and the economy churning.

People from real estate mogul, Donald Trump to Economist, Robert Wiedemer, who predicted the last recession, are warning of dire economic consequences because of these short-sighted policies.

So do we have real money to continue to burn or is it smoke and mirrors and as Wiedemer says, “the medicine will become the poison”–what do you think?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Fair Trade Principles Are Cool

Fair Trade Principles Are Cool

So I was up in Harpers Ferry and discovered this cool boutique store called Tenfold.

The store carries a collection of creative “fair trade,” eco-friendly products from around the world.

They had a cool variety of clothing and accessories–that was different and special.

We all found something there to come back with and had to choose what we liked best.

I ended up getting a couple of handmade ties from a company called Global Mamas in Ghana and the girls got some skirts (and necklaces) made by Unique Batik in Thailand.

I liked the quality and design of the merchandise.

But more than that, I was truly impressed by the principles these companies adhere to under fair trade:

– Alleviate poverty and social injustice
– Support open, fair, and respectful relationships between producers and customers
– Develop producers’ skills, and foster access to markets, application of best practices, and independence,
– Promote economic justice by improving living standards, health, education, and the distribution of power
– Pay promptly and fairly
– Support safe working conditions
– Protect children’s rights
– Cultivate sustainable practices
– Respect cultural diversity

Note: Fair trade is not to be confused with free trade–the later being where government does not interfere with imports or exports by applying tariffs, subsidies, or quotas.

Truly, if we give people a chance to be productive under fair trade working conditions, they can make the world a little better one product at a time. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Colonize And Survive

Colonize And Survive

It was interesting to read in Popular Science (12 April 2013) that the famous physicist and futurist, Stephen Hawking, stated that humans would face extinction on planet Earth within the next 1,000 years.

Hawking says we need to colonize other planets–and I believe that is sound advice.

While Mother Earth has an incredible ability to rejuvenate and self-heal, let’s face it, the planet cannot sustain us forever in our current state.

According to the United Nations, the world population is expected to hit 9.22 billion by 2075, and life expectancy is expected to rise varying across countries from 66 to 97 by 2100.

Moreover, according to research institution, Transatlantic Academy (May 2012), over the next 10-20 we are likely to see “accelerating demand for most natural resource commodities…increasingly volatile markets, [and] scarcities are likely to be more common.”

In the absence of major technological breakthroughs, increased social equity, and peaceful coexistence on this planet, we will need to find resources outside of Earth and colonize other planets–this is our future.

Already, as reported by National Geographic (10 April 2013), the administration has funded NASA to capture an asteroid and set it in orbit around the moon to not only study and develop capabilities to help protect our planet from a collision, but also to eventually be able to mine asteroids for precious minerals.

As much as we love Earth–although sometimes we don’t show it by being gluttonous with its resources, polluting, destroying the ozone, and generally not following sustainable practices–we need to have a “Plan B” whereby we explore for water, food, land, minerals, and energy elsewhere and be ready to make a move to survive another 6000 years and more. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Great Big Apple Donut

The Great Big Apple Donut

Some people think the new Apple HQs (or Apple Campus 2) looks like a flying saucer or spaceship–to me, it looks like a great big donut. :-)

In all seriousness though, the planned Apple HQs is so cool–I love it!

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (4 April 2013) has a terrific article about this awesome design project.

Some of the facts about this planned facility:

– Houses 12,000 employees
– Has 4 concentric rings.
– 2.8 million square feet (2/3 the size of the Pentagon)
– 176 acres of trees, including the vast courtyard in the center which will have apricot, olive, and apple orchards.
– 40-foot high walls of concave glass
– 700,000 square feet of solar panels (enough to power 4,000 homes)
– Climate-responsive technology such as window treatments that automatically open and close
– Costs about $5 billion (1.1 billion more than the new World Trade Center)
– Move in expected 2016
– Just 2 entry roads
– 4-story underground garage
– 2 R&D labs
– Fitness center

While some think that this building is vanity, I think it is a work of art, and perfectly suits the innovativeness nature of the company.

Apple’s HQS is a reflection of itself, not just another building. The beautiful, sleek, and high-tech building melds with the company’s design philosophy and vision for great consumer products.

Just like Apple’s unique positioning in being able to integrate hardware and software solutions for their customers, their new HQS is a unification of their physical work environment with their internal vision for themselves as a company and the amazing products they put out.

Unlike some organizations which are foolishly tearing down all their walls and working as if they in sitting in Starbucks, Apple understands how to marry the need for a social and collaborative work environment with a proper and respectful functional space.

Apple’s building will be beautiful and functional just like their computing devices…and they remain true to themselves and us. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Cupertino Government)