Thanks to a correspondent for putting me onto this story. Feel free to share anything even vaguely similar. Or different. Ithaca, New York might be described as a prototypical university town. Cornell University on one hill, Ithaca College on another, lots of liberal voters in the middle of relatively conservative upstate New York. I'm told that it's sometimes defined as "ten square miles surrounded by reality."
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June 30, 2008
June 27, 2008
Lots of folks look back on their college years as a happy period in their lives. Heck, some folks seem to like it so much that they find a way never to leave! (One of the characteristics of many higher-ed administrative departments is that they employ a lot of people with local diplomas on the wall, and no experience ever having worked anyplace else. Sigh!)
June 26, 2008
I want to be Alexander Lee when I grow up. Lee is the Executive Director of Project Laundry List, an outgrowth of a project he started at Middlebury College.
June 24, 2008
I'm wondering about pushing Greenback U. to get into the green fuel business. I'd like some success stories, if anyone's willing to share theirs. One fact about that UK-spec Land Rover that gets up to 45.5 highway miles per gallon - it has a 2.2 liter turbo-diesel engine in it. I'm guessing that part of the reason diesel-engined vehicles are more popular in other countries than they are in the USA is that it's hard to make a diesel which meets US passenger vehicle smog standards. Higher particulate emissions, and all that.
June 22, 2008
The local newsrag has a car section which seems to get thicker and more vociferous every week. Discounts on this, rebates on that, free gas with the other thing. Of course, what they're pushing hardest is what nobody wants -- SUVs, full-sized pickups with big block engines, mini-vans with surprisingly mini-mileage. Hybrids? Sure. We'll put you on the waiting list for a very modest extra fee.
June 18, 2008
Water is energy. Not literally, of course (the square of the speed of light notwithstanding), but practically. Naturally moving water can be made to yield energy, either directly or through hydroelectric generation. Unnaturally moving water (like what comes out of the faucet) consumes a tremendous amount of energy, necessary to make it follow a path of greater resistance.
June 16, 2008
Way back when I was fresh out of college, I tried to augment my meager salary by taking on some part-time sales work. As a result, I was exposed to some sales training. It didn't help much at the time -- my commissions didn't pay for more than my gasoline (even though a gallon then went for the price of a pint now). But I learned things which helped me later in life, so some of it must have stuck.
June 13, 2008
In a world where ignorance is bliss, 'tis foolish to be wise. That saying's probably been around for a long time, but I first heard it decades ago, from the mouth of a drunk who said his name was Eddie Cornell (never found out if he was related to Ezra) at a bar near or in (I forget which) the Montreal train station. (Yup, the same one that's downstairs from the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, which is sold out for this year's SCUP conference.)
June 11, 2008
As I was driving to campus this morning, I happened to hear a story on NPR about urban gardening in Detroit. One of the points was that, given a garden around which to congregate, residents are more likely to get to know their neighbors. This wasn't really a surprise. I've been re-reading Bill McKibben's Deep Economy, and one of the things he points out is that the experience of buying food at a local farmers' market stimulates about ten times as many conversations as the act of buying (nominally) similar food at a supermarket.
June 9, 2008
There's been an ongoing exchange on the Green Schools list (GRNSCH-L@listserv.brown.edu). In a nutshell, it simplifies to: Question: Is X a good speaker to bring onto campus for a sustainability presentation? Answer: He's strongly anti-immigrant. This may not play well with your intended audience: