Tags >> Science
Nov 10
2009

Ancient Maps

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , Science , research , nonprofit orgs , media , literacy , international , Ideas , history , events , education , arts

Bruce Robinson

Western Civilization’s understanding of the size and shape of planet earth can be traced through the maps and atlases that were published three to five  hundred years ago.

Even before Columbus made his first westward voyage, it was generally accepted that the world was round, says map collector Henry Wendt (left). But the size of the globe was thought to be much smaller than it actually is.

 

The earliest printed maps are not just a record of growing cartographic understanding of the world, explains map collector Henry Wendt. They also document the powerful influence of the Church in the European view and understanding of that world.

The exhibit drawn from Wendt's collection, Envisioning the World: The First Printed Maps 1472-1700, continues through January 17, 2010 at the Sonoma County Museum.

 

Oct 30
2009

Ghosts

Posted by Bruce Robinson in technology , Sonoma County , Science , research , nonprofit orgs , housing , history , families

Bruce Robinson

Are ghosts real? The Sonoma County Paranormal Institute hasn’t been able to prove that…yet…but they have encounterd some strange things that defy explanation.

  While not a trained physicist, Craig Appel of the Sonoma County Paranormal Institute, takes a rigorous scientific approach to his ghostly investigations.

The goal of the SCPI’s investigations is not necessarily to find ghosts or other unnatural beings, but to seek out explanations for strange and mysterious phenomena. A successful investigation, says Appel, is one that ends with clear answers.

The Sonoma County Paranormal Institute is a non-profit investigative organization, whose inquiries are neither amatuer or expert. They do not change for their services, and invite anyone who suspects they have encountered something ghostly to fill out this form to request an investigation.

Oct 29
2009

Builders of the Pacific Coast

Posted by Bruce Robinson in trees , Science , planning , open space , Ideas , housing , environment , design , coast , California , author , art

Bruce Robinson

From remote cabins crafted of driftwood to stunningly beautiful and unconventional family homes, Bolinas-based writer and photographer Lloyd Kahn collects innovative individual builders up and down the Pacific Coast.

Below are two examples of the buildings featured in the book: The elbaorate temple built by SunRay Kelly at Harbin Hotsprings, and a whimsical gazebo made of driftwood on a Vancouver Island beach.

The farther north he ventured, the more Kahn found projects that had been built in substantial part from found materials—driftwood on the beaches, and fallen timber inland. He says that immersing himself in that world has had an enduring effect in the way he sees potential resources around him now.

Lloyd Kahn's first building experience was with geodesic domes, which led to his first book as well. But  he eventually became disenchanged  the domes, and turned his attention to the more generalized subject of  Shelter, published in 1973. The success of that volume launched his Bolinas-based publishing business,  which concentrates on books about do-it-yourself homebuilding, and health. He'll present a slide show drawn from Builders of the Pacific Coast at Copperfield's Books  in Sebastopol on Thursday night, Oct. 29, at 7  pm.

 

For his next publishing project, Kahn says he will be narrowing his lens to focus on creative “micro” housing efforts, such as this work in progress.

The intricately ornamented staircase and loft below is yet another of the utterly unique homes Kahn has featured in Builders of the Pacific Coast.

 

Oct 28
2009

Landfill Divestiture

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , waste , Sonoma County , Science , resources , politics , planning , news , Health , garbage , environment , energy , conservation , chemicals , California , budget , air quality , activism

Bruce Robinson

An unpopular plan to privatize the Sonoma County dump has been voted down by county supervisors, rekindling hope that they might still be able to resume operations at the facility, which has been inactive for the past four years.

A sizable crowd was on hand for the meeting Tuesday morning, many of them wearing "Go Green" badges to indicate their opposition to the proposed divestiture deal. Some of them were apparently mobilized by the eight-minute video below, which was posted on YouTube the preceding weekend.

[video:[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye6JY28g86Q ]

“This agreement does not have a constituency,” observed Supervisor Shirlee Zane, after the parade of speakers unanimously denounced the proposal Tuesday morning. Windsor Town Council member Deborah Fudge (right)  faulted the county for much of that, saying that closed door meetings and a process that assumed any outreach would happen after the divestiture was approved, had backfired on the Board.

One of the repeated messages during public comments on the divestiture proposal was that, even if approved by the board of supervisors, it will still be dependent on the full participation of most of the local municipalities. Yet council members from Santa Rosa, Windsor, and Healdsburg  all expressed reservations. Petaluma, which has already opted out and is now shipping their waste to Novato, might still be open to working with the county, suggested Mayor Pam Torliatt. But none of that seemed to inspire a desire for cooperation in Supervisor Paul Kelley.

Also see these previous North Bay Reports on the Sonoma County landfill issue:

The Deal for the Dump  (Oct. 1, 2009)

Landfill Leak (July 7, 2009)

The Landfill's Future (March 31, 2009)

Sonoma County is far from alone is struggling to deal responsibly and locally with its garbage. This video takes a critical look at the situation in neighboring Marin County.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRuvi8Rs0R4 450x450]


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