Reblog: Hubcap Animal Sculptures, check out My Modern Met hubcap animal sculptures
Hubcap Owl

The above owl is made from hubcaps.

Dude just found some hubcaps and made an owl. I dream of doing stuff like that. I found some fake silver leaves in the street the other day, brought them home. They’re staring at me, still plain fake silver leaves. Today I went on twitter briefly, next to the leaves, intending only to get a quick few pieces of semi-businessy things done. Then I was seduced by the amazing post Abandoned Hubcaps Transform into Amazing Animal Sculptures – My Modern Met.  @MyModernMet  rocks – highly highly recommend following them. They find the coolest stuff on the internet.  Today they linked to, see the cool owl photo? The site of artist Ptolemy Elrington (and does that name sound fake or what?) showing off his reclaimed metal sculptures – not just hubcaps to be clear, he just did one using shopping carts(‘trollys’ in brit speak).  Hubcap art makes me think of street kids, and this specific art is more steampunk than street, though not strictly that at all.  I guess I can see the artist being into steampunk from the photo – yes I’m massively stereotyping. Somehow it seems strange to me that Brits would be into steampunk, partially because steampunk is so.. brit-loving. But Dr. Who definitely gets steampunky every once in a while, so.. sure.

Why are you still here? The pics are elsewhere

Anyways, hie yourself off to check out the source websites for more cool art photos(and the art itself if you’ve got the cash!).  Oh, and if you feel like giving me something – I know he’s got a squirrelfish, but the triggerfish is just that bit cuter…please?  Oh, and someone should get Mozilla that fox.

Street Parking, Homelessness, and “Storing Personal Property in Public”

Last year, Tampa, Florida — which had the most homeless people for a mid-sized city — passed an  ordinance allowing police officers to arrest anyone they saw sleeping in public, or “storing personal property in public.”

I look forward to seeing all of the parallel parked citizens arrested.

The article over at Nation of Change is very positive.  It describes a new Utah program to house people and provide social workers. But first the article lists other programs that have been recently implemented around the country.  This Tampa one struck me because ‘storing personal property in public’ is such a common activity.  I’ve lived in San Francisco where people overwhelmingly use street parking, and it is a fiercely fought over commodity, generating arguments over permits, parklets, construction and bus lanes.  I’m fairly sure this law was not applied in that context however.  Have you ever stopped to think how much money is spent on paving roads, grading curbs, and assisting people to store their car in the public space?  How many miles of lanes of public parking are in your town? Have you had a neighbor  who parks his boat/trailer/car that doesn’t drive on the street?

Appearing better off gets you advantages. Cars, boats, RVs, etc are a more valuable class of property and thus supported by the city, and when someone has so little, what they have is begrudged.

Programs like the one described do not fix the problems; they shift and change the problem.  The city and people still have to pay for the arrests, and cleanup the area.  Investing in long-term improvements, facilities and assistance programs for the individuals can actually be cheaper.  Homelessness in America should be fixable – we have the facilities and ignoring it isn’t free.

I’m excited to see how Lava Mae  will do in the Bay Area.

Health Risks from Pesticides, More Reasons to Grow Your Own

Pesticides are not good for you. Shocker, I know. They’re also not good for the environment.  They shouldn’t be banned, but use should be more limited than it is, and eating pesticide-laden food should be avoided when possible.  You know what’s a great way to do that? Garden! So here’s some scary factoids about pesticides in US foods, and some tips on growing your own for some of the worst pesticide culprits.
Continue reading “Health Risks from Pesticides, More Reasons to Grow Your Own”

We’re Dying Young in America

We’re sicker for a number of reasons. Not one single factor is to be blamed for the problem,” Jacoby says. “One of the reasons is we are eating bad. We are being excessively exposed to junk food… We have more pollution because of biofuels that are really, really bad for you.”

via Living Sick and Dying Young in Rich America – Leah Sottile – The Atlantic.

It’s hard to think about, and hard to speak about. My friends are sicker than our elders, and sicker than our contemporaries across the pond. Staying home might be the most dangerous thing. There is a reasonable chance I will become seriously sick for a long time, just living life normally. I try to be healthy – at least sometimes – but I know I don’t fully succeed. It’s hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle; the components are many, not stressing severely, not eating processed foods, eating & drinking in moderate amounts, exercising regularly. That’s hard to acknowledge, but it’s not really everyone else’s concern.

My mother teaches kindergarten in Central California; the kids in her class are likely going to be in the same boat as me, and perhaps even worse off. We aren’t doing anything to produce healthier kids, or a healthier next generation. When does it become everyone’s concern?

For many years, Americans have been dying at younger ages that people in almost all other wealthy countries. In addition to the impact of gun violence, Americans consume the most calories among peer countries and get involved in more accidents that involve alcohol. People living in the U.S. lose more years of their life before they reach 50 due to alcohol and drugs compared to all the other nations in the study. In general, Americans had the lowest chance of surviving to 50

via Report: U.S. life expectancy lowest among wealthy nations due to disease, violence – Michelle Castillo – CBS/AP
So if you want to raise a child in a healthier environment that has to start with local policy & culture at home, or.. you know, move to a country better for your kids.

The Secret Language of Plants & The Highest Frontier

“It turns out almost every green plant that’s been studied releases its own cocktail of volatile chemicals, and many species register and respond to these plumes.”

” the science of plant talk is challenging long-held definitions of communication and behavior as the sole province of animals. “

The Secret Language of Plants | Simons Foundation.

Plants are sometimes depicted as active cooperative agents of a gentle and friendly nature.  That is not so.  Plants actively compete, kill one another, and even these studies say eavesdropping may be more accurate than talking. Continue reading “The Secret Language of Plants & The Highest Frontier”