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Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

I’m a huge fan of Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, among other fantastic vegan cookbooks.  Today in her blog she posted a photo from flickr user Deirdre Jean that really made my day.


Read Deirdre’s flickr post about the photo

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Here is a group I want to find out a lot more about: The Center for Land Use Interpretation. I discovered them from a little sidebar in the New York Times on the Hudson River which mentioned their new book, Up River: Man-Made Sites of Interest on the Hudson from the Battery to Troy. According to their website, the CLUI:

is a research organization involved in exploring, examining, and understanding land and landscape issues. The Center employs a variety of methods to pursue its mission – engaging in research, classification, extrapolation, and exhibition.

But that seems to be putting it mildly. They seem to have a fascination for all the many ways that man and landscape intersect for good or for bad. And their medium is based in the visual. They have many other books, online features, newsletters (going back to 1995!), and exhibitions on everything from trash to parking spaces. I’m going to have to spend a lot more time checking them out.

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Last night, I went to see a screening of The Lord God Bird, a movie produced and directed by George Butler of Pumping Iron Fame. The event was co-hosted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and The Nature Conservancy. I really enjoyed seeing it, although I don’t feel strongly about whether or not the Ivory Billed Woodpecker is alive or extinct. If it can be a symbol for the importance of conservation, then that’s great, but the important thing is that unique habitats are disappearing and we are leaving the earth in horrifically bad condition.

John Fitzpatrick, the Director of the Cornell Lab and Scott Simon, the State Director of the Arkansas Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (hosted by my State Director) were there and answered questions at the end with the producers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife personnel.

My favorite parts of the movie: Nancy Tanner (what a pistol), photos of a baby IBW, learning about the methods scientists are using to survey likely habitats for IBW.

Anyway, I’m not a movie reviewer and there are several good reviews written by specialists in a couple of interesting areas:
Cryptomundo – a group seaching for sasquatch and the like
John Trapp – a birder (post includes a trailer of the film)
Hillbilly M.F.A. – an Arkansas nature writer

The theme song for the movie was written by Sufjan Stevens originally for the NPR story on the original “re-discovery” of the bird in 2004. You can listen to it here and read about it here.

I saw a Pileated woodpecker a few weeks ago at FDR State Park near Columbus, Georgia and although they are not the least bit rare, I can honestly say my reaction was, “Lord God! Look at that bird!” And the IBW is supposed to be much more impressive.

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Take a few minutes to watch this video: Chris Jordan Pictures Excess – TED Talk 2008

Artist Chris Jordan talks about his work at the TED Conference earlier this spring – in his own words here from his website:

Running the Numbers looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 32,000 breast augmentation surgeries in the U.S. every month.

This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. Employing themes such as the near versus the far, and the one versus the many, I hope to raise some questions about the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming.

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You may or may not wish to send your mom this Mother’s Day card from GRIST, depending on her sense of humor and sensibilities….

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If you have not yet seen The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard, I highly recommend it. It’s a clever 20-minute video about the production/consumption/disposal cycle and what it is doing to the earth and to people. A la An Inconvenient Truth, you can sign up to host a screening (some schools have done this and posted their experiences) – my daughter loves to watch it and discuss how we can contribute less to the Golden Arrow.Watch a snippet here, and then click on the link above to visit Annie’s site.

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Video of The Nature Conservancy blowing up a levee on Oregon’s Upper Klamath Lake. It was “an unprecedented move to improve wildlife habitat, water storage and water quality downstream.”

More coverage of the event here from KATU TV. I love how they keep repeating the video of the blast over and over.

P.S. Subscribe to The Nature Conservancy’s YouTube channel for more videos of their activities worldwide.

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