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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Train in Vain

Train in Vain

I drove out to Walla Walla in southeastern Washington a couple of times last year, and both times noticed this train, seemingly abandoned, near the town of Touchet.  Trains don’t get much use in eastern Washington, despite all the grain exported from the region.  Why use rail, when you have the “Columbia-Snake River System?”  Here are some interesting “facts” (pdf) about the system from the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association.  Hmm.  Strange: no mention of fish. 

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Mossback -- Kake, Alaska

Is this house in Kake, Alaska a cautionary tale or a green innovation?  My initial reaction was that this was a cautionary tale, a warning about what could happen if you stayed still long enough in a temperate rainforest.  First, the moss, then shrubs, followed by trees.  Give it another 150 years or so and the house will likely assume the characteristics of an old growth forest. 

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I Like Birds

It almost pains me to admit it, but Freedom really is a very good book, despite all the hype.  One of the more interesting aspects of all the media fanfare is that very little attention has been paid to the environmental themes that are central to the book.  Have any of these people actually read the book?  Fortunately, Grist has stepped into the breach and not only has a great Q&A with Franzen, but also tests his birding chops with a bird identification quiz.  It’s great stuff.  And even the dour, publicity shy Franzen is moved to declare that “there’s a lot to like about this Grist.”

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Nevada

This and the following photographs from New York-based photographer, Christoph Gielin, present images that should be vaguely familiar to anybody who has flown in a plane, used google earth, or watched the TV series Weeds (before it jumped the shark and Guillermo burned down Agrestic).  Gielin’s pictures portray a suburban or ex-urban geometry of recurring shapes and patterns that at times look broadly similar to the maze at Hampton Court when viewed from above.

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"Modern Caryatids"

Architecture and design firm Choi+Shine submitted this design–The Land of Giants–for the Icelandic High-Voltage Electrical Pylon International Design Competition in 2008.  The Land of Giants didn’t win, but it did receive an honorable mention.  And recently won the Boston Society of Architects 2010 award for Unbuilt Architecture.

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First Ave South Bridge

Driving back from the airport this afternoon, we were stuck on the ramp approaching the First Avenue South Bridge.  The northbound span of the bridge was stuck open.   I’d just picked up Lisa who had been in transit from Ethiopia for 30 hours, and was really ready to be home.  There was a fire truck a few vehicles over.  They had no idea what was going on.  One guy in a nearby car called 911.  They told him it wasn’t their problem.  Folks on motorcycles turned around and weaved their way back through the parked cars. 

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So, ferry across the Narrows

This is the location of the infamous Bridge to Nowhere from Gravina Island to Ketchikan in Southeast Alaska.  The bridge that Sarah Palin supported before she opposed it.  The one where she “told Congress thanks but no thanks for that bridge to nowhere.”  Well, it’s almost the location.  This is the current ferry crossing.  The bridge, as proposed, would have been three miles south of here at the end of a new $32 million road built to access it.  An access road that was built even though Palin had already said “no thanks” to the bridge.  Hard to believe I know, but it’s all captured here in a report from CNN.

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