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Showing posts from July, 2020

Making the World Better

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Something amazing happened when we were all hunkered down earlier this year: The earth quieted down too. I’m not just talking about the sharp decrease in trucks and tankers and trains and white noise and run-of-the-mill congestion. The planet actually stopped coughing and shivering from all of our human hacking.    Don’t believe me? Then  read this article recently published in Science . See, humans are among the main producers of high-frequency “seismic noise.” Not only do we generate our own seismic activity both on and below the surface, but that activity tends to drown out simultaneous natural phenomena. When we all quieted down in quarantine, so did the seismographs around the world that record such movement.    I’ve been thinking a lot about how the pandemic is reshaping our relationship with our environment. I'm convinced we’re experiencing a Lorax-level reckoning and it both comforts and concerns me. On good days, I marvel that I can still get anywhere in the city without h

Veggie Tales

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I'm gonna go ahead and call it: The tomatoes are a bust.    It’s been close to three months and to date my yield remains three still-very-green tomatoes from one of six plants that produced ample yellow flowers but no fruit.    My peppers are doing better, but only one has turned the promised color on the plant card; the rest remain stubbornly green and several are now mottled.    So goes my first foray into my urban victory garden. Pretty plants, I can grow. But functional ones, not so much. Part of the problem may be the containers—too shallow to support the stakes I bought for the plants’ support. I think the soil is OK, but that will be determined once I’m brave enough to bite into my bounty. I also am no longer sure creating this container garden on my second-story walkout worked. Our local bees must have lost their invitation to the pollination party. I thought the plants were self-pollinating, but if that’s the case, they should have been way more unrestrained in that role.

A Virtual Reality

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  The other day I recalled a conversation decades ago with a fellow member of a corporate running team known as The Deadliners.  One of the stars of the team was running late for a highly competitive 10k in downtown Norfolk. We feared she’d be a no-show and, as a result, we wouldn’t make it onto the podium that day.    When June finally did turn up, she confessed she wasn’t enthusiastic about running the race, which carried a steep fee for the times.    “Remind me again why I just paid $45 to do something I could also do for free?”   I couldn't deliver an adequate answer. She had a very good point. But one of our colleagues, Dan, was ready with a response.   “Duh, June. We do it for the T-shirt and maybe a medal.”   And so, some 25 years later, here we are, now running virtual races for a T-shirt and maybe a medal (back then given to those who placed; now, to those who participate). If not a T-shirt, then we seek some other swag to justify a fee to do something we could do for free