Tag Archives: iPhone

A Good Day at Lydgate

If you ever find yourself on the island of Kauai with children, spend some time at Lydgate State Park:

Lydgate Beach Panorama

First, the surf can be rough but a two “pools” have been created with lava rock to break the wave action and create the perfect place for children to frolic.  There are also some of the most tame fish in these pools, so your budding snorkeler can put her face in the water and see fish while you help her float.

Second, if your land bound your kids will love running around the Kalamani Playground.  It can be one of those lifesaver moments when you are looking to run the keiki’s legs off before a long trip to the north shore.

Third, a long path winds through the park providing a nice place to walk and unwind.  Eventually, when the work on the Kuhio Highway over the Wailua River is complete it will connect to the Lihi Park to Ahihi Point trail for a total length of 8.7 miles.  The Ke Ala Hele Makalae will be a great place to run or bike along the east shore of Kauai as portions are completed.

If you get lucky, like we did on our first day, you might get to see an endangered monk seal:

Monk Seal

Between swimming with fish and seeing a monk seal, I may have created a mini-marine biologist at Lydgate.  Thankfully I have been fully funding that 529 plan for a while now.

BTW, I just fell in love with the panorama picture feature on my iPhone.  It is one of those “so cool” technologies that constantly amaze me.

Friday Linkage 12/21/2012

I have spent a lot of time “offline” the past week.  Part of it is related to the events in Newtown, Connecticut.  I just wanted to spend a little extra more time with my two children because I could not imagine the horror of having either of them taken from this world in such a savage way.

Also, it was a snow day on Thursday.  Iowa and the rest of the upper Midwest got walloped on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.  Here in Cedar Rapids we got anywhere from 6 to 9 inches of snow and had winds that blew in excess of 50 miles per hour.  Pretty much a textbook blizzard.

Everything slows down on a snow day because no one goes out.  Life really turns inward toward the household.  Snow days are most excellent.

On to the links…

EPA Goes After Dangerous Soot Pollution–This is one of those “boring but very important” type of stories.  Soot is dangerous on so many levels and the EPA is taking steps to clamp down on the emission of soot.  Good deal all the way around.

Cleaning up Carbon Pollution 101–This is a good run down of the facts surrounding the issue of carbon pollution.  Read it and be informed for the next time you have to argue about carbon pollution with your libertarian Uncle Walt who lives in Phoenix.

Exploring a Proposed Carbon Diet for American Power Plants–The Natural Resources Defense Council has come up with a proposal for reducing carbon based power generation in the United States that focuses on all aspects of the chain.  It’s pretty fascinating stuff for people who read up on this kind of thing.

To Save the Oceans, Should We Zone Them?–I do not know if this would really do any good because individuals, corporations, and countries are not know for being sticklers when it comes to rules.

Detect Drafty Windows with Your Smartphone–Does anyone ever sit back and marvel at just how freaking cool our smartphones really are?  These things are like something out of Star Trek but better somehow. 

Small is Big, Bangladesh Installs One Million Solar Home Systems–I am excited by the potential of the developing world to leapfrog the centralized and heavily carbon based electrical generating systems that dominate in the West.  Here is just another story about the power of distributed generation.

Plans for Giant 1.2GW Wind Farm Submitted–Not that big energy projects cannot be fascinating or get us closer to a carbon free future.  The East Anglia Offshore Wind (EAOW) will provide 1.2 gigawatts (imagine Doc Brown saying it) or the equivalent of about 770,000 annual electricity consumption.

Feds Scrap Dumb Idea of Relocating Otters–Who thought this was a good or plausible idea in the first place?  Why would an animal suddenly decide to stay in a place where it was unfamiliar?  Because some agent from the state fish and wildlife service packed it in a crate?  Sure.

Imagine There’s No Fracking–It’s easy if you try.  Sean Lennon and Yoko Ono recently ran the following ad in the New York Times:

Fenton_Fracking_NYTimes_fullpage_bw

Stuff I Like: Apps to Shop Better

Americans spend a lot of money on food.  How much?  In 2010 total food expenditures in the United States exceeded $1.24 trillion.  Yep, trillion with a T.  Naturally, with that size of spend there is a lot of power in the decisions that we make regarding food.  This concept is nothing new to activists of any stripe.  Boycotts and buycotts are powerful tools in getting companies to change their behavior.

But what about our own personal behavior?  How do we do better on a day in and day out basis?  It’s easy to avoid eating grapes because you want to show solidarity with pickers striking for better conditions.  How does one choose what kind of fish to buy when staring at a fishmonger’s case with three people in line behind you?  How do I know what vegetables are in season when I am wandering among the abundance of the farmers’ market on a glorious weekend morning?

My iPhone comes to the rescue.  More to the point, apps on my iPhone come to the rescue.  Two apps in particular—Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Eat Local.

Choosing what seafood to eat can be almost infinitely complex.  Wild caught or farm raised?  U.S., Canadian, Nordic, or Chinese?  Gill net, seined, or trolled?  Coho or Cobia?

For years the Monterey Bay Aquarium has been handing out free pocket sized guides for people to consult.  However, times have changed and the one indispensable item in almost everyone’s daily arsenal is a phone.  So, there is an app:

It’s pretty easy.  Just type in the name of the seafood and the best choice will appear at the top of the list—assuming there is a best choice.  If you type in Chilean seabass you should get smacked upside the head for even having to consult an app.  Really?  Why not just type in whale meat.

There is also a location service that uses your current location to choose the best seafood option.  Cool.

The Natural Resources Defense Council’s Eat Local app is similar in that it helps to provide better choices when we are at the farmers’ market or green grocery.

The app provides two avenues of information: locating farmers’ markets near your location and telling you what produce is “in season” at those markets.  The idea is good, but it needs a little work.  For the region I live in—Iowa—for this time of year apparently Alaskan Pollock is in season.  Maybe so, but is flying fish in from Alaska really in season or local?  I do not think so.

Nevertheless, the Eat Local app provides another data point for trying to figure out what is the best option when I am inundated with the abundance at the farmers’ market.  It is so easy to become swayed by the colors and smells:

Additionally, the app lets me locate farmers’ markets when I am travelling.  In Hawaii one of my favorite things to do is visit the closest farmers’ market to get food rather than paying the prices for imported food from the mainland.  Nothing beats getting a bagful of limes and a pineapple freshly cut to enjoy on the lanai.  Being able to search for these markets with an app in my pocket will make finding those experiences just a little bit easier whether I am in Hawaii, Colorado, Florida, or Iowa.