Sunday, June 12, 2016

GE: Finding Ways To Talk To The (Berlin) Wall

GE's reuse of the last remaing part of the Berlin wall is genius! Whatta way to recycle!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Water and Water Don't Mix All Over the World

The Jailing River, China
Just like oil and water, not all water and water, mixes at several points around the world. It seems things like chemical mix, debris, vegetation, and silt make the determination as to whether two bodies of water will blend. But blend or not, they do come together, which is called a "convergence." And this interesting environmental opposition  happens in rivers, in gulfs and even oceans the world over. Take look at some of these almost freakish phenomena, that create stripes of water colors, maybe at a waterway near you! Here, we show global land configurations that looks amazingly like the point in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Note where and how the waters meet. Not quite what you'd expect at the the three rivers, although, Seen Green won't deny the awesomeness of the converging feature.
Rivers at Devprayag, India

Rhone and Arve Rivers, Switzerland

And The Three Rivers.....back to normal...ahhhhhhh. To find our more about "convergence" 
visit Earth Porn. Click here. or The Alaksa Dispach.  Click here.

The Point, Pittsburgh, PA

Friday, April 22, 2016

Poor Attempt at Solidarity--Flint Mayor is Drinking the [Filtered] Poison Water

In what is probably the worst public relations stunt ever, Mayor Rick Snyder has agreed to drink Flint Michigan's contaminated water. But HIS water has to be filtered first. Amazingly enough, he must believe this gimmick will shut the mouths of over a half million irate people, in the second largest city in his state. In this grainy YouTube video, you see the Mayor in the home of Flint residents Cheryl Hill and Todd Canty, guzzle down the water, and gag slightly (guilt?) just after he puts the glass down. On April 18, 2016, he vowed to drink Flint water for 30 days. Let's see how he's feeling on May 18th. Seen Green doubts this is going to wash with the Flint citizens, or the rest of the country for that matter, but Mayor Snyder deserves a D+ for trying to water down the negative press.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

What do Inuit Elders know that NASA Doesn't?

Unlike the story of Chicken Little, a fictional character in a children's book who insisted the sky was falling,  Elijah Nowdlak and other First People of the Americas, are dead serious in their belief that the "sky has shifted."  Their tribes have a track record of predicting weather, and other natural occurrences. They have NASA and other scientists concerned because they say it is this shift that is the cause for global warming and not air pollution which has been the most popular claim.

"The sun, the moon and the stars have all changed position," they say. Even the wind, making it harder for them to make their weather predictions. The article Seen Green read did not explain what all this means long term. But one reader, Wesley Williams, who Seen Green attempted to contact on Facebook, explained that this shifting of the earth is called the "Chandler Wobble or Axial Procession." He states that is a natural phenomenon that has been noted since the days of Sir Issac Newton and as is probably the result of ocean bottom fluctuations. "Because of the tilt of the earth, and its rotational spin, there will be constant changes in this wobble." Wesley maintains.

Now, Seen green did some fact checking, and it seems not everyone agrees nor understands HOW the change in earth's axis affects the weather. For the geeks among you, feel free to follow the conversation on Earth Science Beta. Or this NOAA Paleoclimatology report on orbital dynamics. Skeptical Science even took a stab at this question.

Hmmm, Seen Green would like to propose you guys all get together for a summit...and soon!


Friday, April 1, 2016

How the Ultra Wealthy "Conserve" Land

There is building a tiny home to conserve land, that's one thing, and then there is THIS. Off the coast of Dubai, there are a chain of islands forming what some sarcastically call "make-shift" communities, but actually, the islands off Dubai form a buoyant city now peppered with floating villas.

Invested in the water paradise, you'll find men like Richard Branson, whose island is a microcosm of Great Britain. In fact, Branson's enclave is in "The Heart of Europe," part of a larger community with each island claiming some sector of the world. This is a place where the super wealthy come to play and the "Floating Seahorse"--a partially submerged home--is quickly taking the billionaire class by storm!

The 2.8 million dollar Seahorse is the result of 5,000 hours of research and 13,000 hours of design work by the Kleindienst Group.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said it best: The rich are different from you and me.
A penny for your million dollar thoughts? :-)

Monday, March 28, 2016

How to Dig Up a Tree With Little Lasting Damage

Dutchmen Industries are the leading manufacturers of tree spades, although most people probably had no idea there was such an industry. They also manufacture other equipment for nursery needs, but watching this particular machine in action, is quite captivating. Seen Green, which shares thoughts with many gardeners has always thought the best way to move a planting was to take enough dirt, so that the plant doesn't realize it has been moved. This IS that, in practice; not with a small group of flowers, but rather a fully grown tree. And it's a beautiful thing!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

India and USA Cross Spoons Over Edible Market, And India Goes On the "Maker" Defence

Edible Spoons by Jack
Out of India comes one solution to all our eatery needs. They have created spoons that you can use, and then eat! They are made out of kneaded flour, with absolutely no chemicals. Bakey's was established in 2010 by a couple in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh--the Narayanas--to provide an altrenative to to disposable plastic cutlery and bamboo chopsticks. After much research (and tasting), developed the Bakey's spoon, with look and feel of a real utensil. The couple was inspired by the "Make in India"  policies, which challenges its citizens to dream, and invent new products and technology in the hopes of prying poverty's stranglehold on the country. To further their manufacturing efforts on every front, India has also launched  their Defence Expo, 2016. The Prime Minister of the Expo is Manohar Parrikar, who proclaims, "This will show to the world what India can do." The event takes place March 28-31. Because India isn't stopping at spoons.

"India wants to make everything you buy," 
said Gordon Chang of Forbes Magazine

Crossing spoons with India over the edible cutlery market, is the USA who, also boasting an expanding population, which must also cut down on disposable waste. According to US News and World Report, the United States is expected to add one new person every 8 seconds. That makes for the future use of an untold number of disposable plastic spoons going into already bulging landfills. Coming to America's rescue is Edible Spoons by Jack, (Jack Milan) who one year ago won the first "Catered Arts Through Innovative Excellence" given by the International Caterers Association. The trend his company started has since become a mainstay in many catering and restaurant industries. And this sturdy utensil can be just as usable in a typical home dinning senario.  These edible "Asian-style" spoons come in 15 flavors including chocolate, corn lime, gingerbread and parmesan basil. Getting them is easy. Call, 866-382-7837

Monday, August 24, 2015

Japan's Xylophone of Forest Shows Rolling Stones Gather Sound...not moss

Docomo, a Japanese telecoms giant has created a xylophone in the forest out of small planks that play Bach's Cantata 147 just by placing a hard stone-like ball at the starting point and letting it roll downhill along a series of fir and maple wood pieces grown in Hokkaido, Japan where this nature-ly exhibit is being showcased. A vending machine is near the featured piece, where you can purchase a ball to use as many times as you want; then take it home. Play it only on sunny days, though. On rainy days, the xylophone takes a rest. The cost to get in the gardens is 1,500 JPY and 300 JPY to play. A must see if you're in the Far East. 

"A single wooden ball 
is released from the top 
and rolls down the step-like 
keys and plays Bach's Cantata 147"
--Wired Co UK

CONTACT; Hokkaido Garden Show 2015 Daisetsu Management Committee Office 
Kamikawa-cho Town Office180 Minami-machi, Kamikawa-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido 078-1753, Japan
TEL. 01658-2-4058

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Science and Religion Getting a Whole Lot Closer

German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche is famous for the quote "God is dead."  But he was wrong. And after years of denying the existence of God, scientists the world over are rethinking their theories. It seems science has proven rather than disproved the existence of a supreme being.

Here are some of the reasons they are changing their minds in record numbers:

1. The more the research that is done, the more the Bible seems to be accurate. Research supports a singular "beginning" for life or the so-called "big bang" theory.  Cosmologists agree that this cataclysmic action could not be the result of chance but part of an original "design," or created by a superior intellect.

2. The placement of certain monuments, and ancient ruins coincide with a "global plan."

3. Further studies show DNA codes support that all creation is orderly and intellectual  even at the inception of birth and can never be successfully duplicated.

4. In order for us to exist on the planet, gravity, air, and other natural forces need to right where they are. This had to be part of a grander scheme that is unknown to man. 

Said one renowned scientist, "There are way too many remarkable coincidences."

Even Einstein who was not religious man speculated:  The genius behind the universe is “an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection."

For more info read this Newsweek Report, here... or  Y-Jesus. click here. 
For a review of the Aczel's book, above, click here.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Beth Moon is her name. And she sees trees better than anyone else. She spent 14 years capturing the oldest trees in the world in photography and then wrote the book: Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time. Moon, is a San Francisco based photographer who has traveled the globe and to the most remote of locations, simply to capture their magnificence for us all.

Says moon on her website: "Many of the trees I have photographed have survived because they are out of reach of civilization; on mountainsides, private estates, and protected lands." And they are according to Moon, the world's greatest living monuments. She sees them as becoming more significant as time goes by and we work harder to live with our environment. Moon felt it was her duty to commemorate the lives of these "wonders of nature." Many of these trees are in danger of extinction. We salute Beth Moon, who in our book a star!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Shoes Make the Invisible Man

Lui Bolin
Some may remember the Where's Waldo books, a children's reading saga that involved--not so much reading--as trying to find a man named Waldo in the pictures surrounded by dozens of other things that look just like him. Now we find Chinese artist Lui Bolin takes this one step further by not only blending in, but by being "one" with his surroundings. 

Bolin is known as "the invisible man" in worldwide art circles and he describes his work as "creating scenes that are statements about our relationship with our surroundings." Bolin is best known for his "hiding in the city" series, which is depicted in photographs some of which we show here. From what we can tell, the best way to find Bolin, is to find his shoes.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Haunted Houses OK for resale in PA---EEEEk!

    This from Courthouse News....(CN) - The sellers of homes do not have to disclose "psychological stigmas," such as murders, to prospective buyers, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled.
     The state's highest court unanimously ruled Monday in favor of Kathleen and Joseph Jacono regarding the sale of their Delaware County house in 2007 for $610,000.
     The buyer, Janet Milliken, sued the couple for failing to disclose that a previous owner, Konstantinos Koumboulis, killed himself and his wife in the house in February 2006. Miliken said she learned of the deaths from a neighbor after she moved in from California.
     She sued for fraud, negligent misrepresentation and violations of state consumer protection laws. The trial court later tossed the suit, holding the Jacanos had no duty to disclose the deaths and that they made no misrepresentation of material fact to support the claims.
     Writing for the state Supreme Court, Justice J. Michael Eakin agreed with the lower court that the deaths were not material facts that should have been disclosed. He noted that "the varieties of traumatizing events" that could happen at a property "are endless."
     "Efforts to define those that would warrant mandatory disclosure would be a Sisyphean task," the eight-page opinion stated. "One cannot quantify the psychological impact of different genres of murder, or suicide - does a bloodless death by poisoning or overdose create a less significant 'defect' than a bloody one from a stabbing or shooting? How would one treat other violent crimes such as rape, assault, home invasion, or child abuse? What if the killings were elsewhere, but the sadistic serial killer lived there? What if satanic rituals were performed in the house?"
     Although such events would disturb most people and make them not want to live in the house, the tragic events are not defects in the structure itself, Eakin said.
     "The occurrence of a tragic event inside a house does not affect the quality of the real estate, which is what seller disclosure duties are intended to address," the opinion stated. "We are not prepared to set a standard under which the visceral impact an event has on the populace serves to gauge whether its occurrence constitutes a material defect in property. Such a standard would be impossible to apply with consistency and would place an unmanageable burden on sellers, resulting in disclosures of tangential issues that threaten to bury the pertinent information that disclosures are intended to convey."
     If anything, the passage of time may make such events "historical curiosities" that "may even increase the value of the property," Eakin suggested. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

ON Board with Jared Rusten

"Rusten" is a good name for someone in the eco biz. It sounds very organic, which is exactly how Jared Rusten of San Francisco, a prolific woodworker and furniture guru, thinks. He's best known for his "California" series which offers eager buyers desks and coffee tables in the shape of the "golden state."  All of his pieces are as pristine as the grand outdoor locations from which the wood originally hails, and they are oiled in low toxic tung and linseed. It turns out that the California state shape is perfect for wrapping a neat corner since it skirts the body so nicely. 

Since 2007, Rusten has been crafting this iconic furniture out of Claro Walnut. He said,"I can't think of a greater tribute to this material than to create from it, functional pieces of furniture in the shape of its geographic origin." In honor of that origin, he spends an extraordinary amount of time on every part of the construction process which makes his craftsmanship pure perfection.

He's on the look out for "Intense grains."

Unlike other wood species, Claro Walnut possesses a spectrum of colors and textures. Neither is it easy to find. Rusten has to source the materials from small lumberyards and independent sawyers. Then it has to be milled, laid out, joined, hand sanded, and buffed. All this this work is very time consuming. Add to that the fact that Claro Walnut is no longer planted in orchards to be regularly harvested, and you have to wonder at the relatively reasonable pricing of Rusten's furniture. The average cost of a small 56"L x 16'H coffee table is $1650. He sells through his website and also on Etsy.

To ensure the unique quality of his furniture, Rusten is always on the look out for Claro Maple that has what he calls an "intense grain." This attention to detail is what makes Rusten furniture special. Once examined, you'll appreciate the time expended on finding just the right pieces of wood. They are worth the wait; so eco smart, modern and chic that we can only say,"Happy hunting!"
Jared Rusten on board

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Insanely Efficient: How Much Space Do You Need?

"Open one of the closets and you'll find ten stackable chairs."

Buzzbuzz Home News, reports that New York entrepreneur Graham Hill, founder of  found a way to pack eight rooms into 350 square feet by designing his Soho studio as a transforming space.“The living room and office become the bedroom with a tug of a bookshelf,” explains a post on “Open one of the closets and you’ll find 10 stackable chairs that go around a telescopic dining table,,"  They call it "Goliath" and it sets the perfect size for larger dinner parties. An entire guest room with bunk-beds and a closet are revealed behind a wall that slides out on tracks. And in addition, there's a full, well designed kitchen, a bathroom with shower and a pull down seat which covers the toilet, basically converting the space into a telephone booth for private conversations. The room is also filled with space saving furniture from places like Resource Furniture. Also video'd here from BuzzBuzz: A home inspired by "origami" in Manhattan--450 sq. ft-- owned by third-grade-teacher Eric Schneider and in Seattle,182 square feet that's racked, packed and stacked and owned by engineer, Steve Sauer who shows to what levels space-saving can go!  


....BONUS The tiniest yet--108 square feet!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


This is one of those: "Never in a  million years," discoveries that, while true is almost too strange to digest. 

Imagine using your own urine to help create new teeth for yourself, which is possible according the BBC News. A July 29, 2013 online article states that urine can be used to create stem cells that can then be used to create teeth. The results have been published in Cell Regeneration Journal; the science was done by the Guangzhou Institute of Bio medicine in China. The researchers even claim that after three weeks of growth the "teeth" contained dentin, pulp and had enamel like the real thing. 

--Prof. Chris Mason, London

Others, however, are not so quick to jump on the pee pee tooth fairy wagon. Professor, Chris Mason, a stem cell specialist from University College London, denounced the discovery saying urine was a poor starting point and added that there was a great risk for bacteria. infection and other potential unknown hazards. That said, even the Chinese research team admits a urine made tooth is not as strong as natural human teeth.  Still the research is promising, and there may be a day in the not too distant future when permanent teeth will finally be able to be replaced from the body's own resources. 

The Guangzhou Institute for Bio medicine is a government sponsored scientific research organization affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which has a combination of 500 researchers and grad students working full throttle.
Their director proudly states on their web page: "We serve the citizens of China and world through discovery." For the full BBC story, click here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

REAL MEN Wear Their Father's CLOTHES

Jack Kennedy
The Kennedy clan's men are famous or probably more correctly infamous for following male type. They were also metrosexuals before it was cool, an air and style that caught the attention of ladies and men alike.

We're liking this idea of guys going back to the clean and classic, which in doing our research came to the forefront time and time again in several blogs and men's trend magazines. The TV series Mad Men rebooted relaxed formality, and as super fans and big supporters of recycling in every area of your life and not big supporters of the baseball cap and pulled-down-pants-underwear-n-booty look, we're breathing a collective sigh of relief that young fashionistos are analyzing old movies, and digging in their father's (and grandfather's) closets for new fashion inspiration, once again.

One great trend watching site is Ivy Style. The editor, known simply as "Christian," takes a look at ivy league attire past and present. In an older post, he reminisces on his own style experiments which were being photographed and catalogued by Japanese journalists, even as he was updating them.

--Ivy Style on Hugh Hefner

Sean Jean fashion house

Marc Jacobs  fashion house
Another good find: FashionBeans: Timeless Style for the Modern Gent. Their latest installation (as of the date of this post) included a wonderful article on men's street style; various photographs of regular guys and how they fashion themselves. And of course, Pinterest will give you a plethora of men's and young men's looks from head to foot. Everyone from Marc Jacobs to Sean John is calling for men to be "clean and structured," "urban and individual" or "post modern." So, we say to them, "damn skippy!"  This is style that can be had anywhere from 7th Avenue to bargain basements.
Mick Jagger's daytime rags

Friday, May 3, 2013


     Perhaps these are things you never really wanted to know anyway. But just in case...

If the first 3 digits of the bar code are 690, 691 or 692, the product is MADE IN CHINA. 471 is Made in Taiwan .
If the first 3 digits of the bar code are 00-09 then it's made or sourced in USA. 

     It is our right to know, but the government and related departments never educate the public; therefore we have to RESCUE ourselves (as usual). Nowadays, many Chinese businessmen know that American consumers prefer not to purchase products "MADE IN CHINA", so they don't always show the country of origin. However, if you want or need this information, you may now refer to the barcode. The first three digits tell the story:

890......MADE IN INDIA
690, 691, 692 ...MADE IN CHINA
00 - 09 ... USA and CANADA
30 - 37 ... FRANCE
40 - 44 ... GERMANY
471 ........ Taiwan
45 or 49 ........JAPAN
489...........HONG KONG
50 .......... UK
57 .........DENMARK 
471......... is Made in TAIWAN (see sample) 
628.........SAUDI ARABIA 
740..........745 - CENTRAL AMERICA

All 480 Codes are Made in the PHILIPPINES. Share this Info!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


 --Greensburgher on Twitter

     It was a fierce twelve year struggle between the organic elite and genetic engineers with no clear winner in sight. But in the wake of the battle, it was obvious who had the bloodier ax. Monsanto emerged the victor with the help of  the U.S. Calvary--Uncle Sam. At stake were over 25,000 organic farms and ranches, the very people we have been depending on to keep our food supply uncontaminated.

     In the beginning, there was a conclave of greenies headed by Whole Foods, Stoneyfield Farm and Organic Valley who took up "the cause;" indeed the fight to keep the massive planting of a chemical and energy-intensive genetically engineered perennial crop away from John Q. Public. The crop was GE (genetically engineered) alfalfa--Round Up Ready Alfalfa-- which some, like World Truth TV, say was guaranteed to spread its mutant seeds across the nation; eventually contaminate organic animals; most likely poison farm workers, cause the use of toxic herbicides which in turn will in time will produce a super weeds, which will require even more potent herbicides to kill it.  At first blush, Whole Foods staunchly defended what they called "seed purity." but in the end it seemed they were overwhelmed by Monsanto, "the bio tech bully of St. Louis [and the government's] bio tech cheerleader, Tom Vilsack," said World Truth.

Whole Foods, however, sees it differently.


     "USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack recently invited representatives from agriculture, business and consumer organizations to explore coexistence between non-GE proponents and GE proponents.  It showed refreshing leadership after many years of debate that has cost farmers with contaminated crops in this country millions of dollars in litigation over the years," defended Whole Food in their blog, The Whole Story.

     Several months down the pike, they were on the defensive again pleading with the public to "get back to your scheduled shopping," comforted by these assurances:

"We have not been bought out by Monsanto... we (no way!) made a secret deal with Monsanto...Wrong again! GMO's [genetically modified organisms] have been in our food supply for as long as there have been GMOs." And even allowing that coexistence between GMO and NonGMO  "is a must!"

Two years ago, The NonGMO Project agreed stating: "...if the fields are contaminated...biotechnology companies for the first time would be held accountable and...forced to pay for the damages."

     Sigh. It would have been nice if the convincing had gone the other direction. This should have been a simple case of David vs. Goliath. In case you don't know your King James--David wins. In the bible, the mighty giant is slain by the tween with the power of the Almighty. Cool. But in this case we sense some unfair play, Monsanto may have just backed a delivery truck over the Whole Foods kid, who was probably on a bike. And they got away with it. Not cool. In the words of Flo from Progressive, these are "troubling times in the kingdom."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

PIttsburgh Mayor Puts "Green" Money Where His Mouth Is

"Mayor Luke" of Pittsburgh, as he is called by both his friends and enemies, was the youngest mayor ever elected in the city's history, and one of the few nationwide in 2006 at age 26. He survived a special election, a re-election, a divorce, a series of alleged girlfriends and enough controversy to last a life time. Is it any wonder after snatching his hat out of the mayoral race in March of 2013 that he's now grazing in the calm of "greener" pastures?  No, you can't kick a man when he's up. 

Seen Green salutes Mayor Ravenstahl's "Edible Gardens" Program and his plans to "plant 10-15 edible gardens in targeted 'food deserts' throughout the City that can harvest 2,000 pounds of fresh produce for 200 families in low income neighborhoods."

It all part of the Mayor's Serve Pittsburgh Program in conjunction with the Department of Public Works fueled by a $100,00 grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies. Here's to hoping it all works. To learn more or apply, click here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

2013 Global Warming Rate Equal To 11,300 Years Ago

Researchers are warning us again, but are we not listening again? According to recent CNN reports, the last time temperatures rose at this rate was11,300 years back. Apparently 1901-1909 were the coldest decades, and we've been on the rise ever since. This ironically neatly coincides with the invention of the "motorwagon"  by Karl Benz. in 1885, who sold 25 cars in 5 years, mostly in France. Add to that Henry Ford's efforts in 1908 with the creation of an affordable modern car that sold 10,000 it's first year and you begin to see an obvious pattern. Steel-making and industry surely didn't help. One century later, we're being told 2000-2009 were some of the hottest years, and it appears were in crisis inventing catch-up technology to manage a monster of our own creation.

Said CNN, "A century is a very short period of time for such a spike. If not for man-made influences, the Earth would be in a very cold phase right now and getting even colder, according the joint study by Oregon State University and Harvard University. Climatologist Shaun Marcott was the lead author of the report on its results." His main concerns center around our ability to adapt globally and our inability to accept needed change.

While Marcott didn't want to comment on what the would might look like in the next century, CNN reports his hopes that we can "pull out of it." 
Tokyo born artist, Naoko Ito's work speaks to the salvage heart. Here, she "preserves" nature in mason jars. Ito currently lives and works in New York. This piece is from her Urban Nature series which she has been expanding since its inception in 2008. Her credits include exhibitions in New York and the far east: The Shirey,  Soho20 Chelsea Gallery, Perry Rubenstein Gallery, The affordable Art Fair, and the Yasashii Yokan Gallery in Tokyo, Japan.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Future of Coca Cola Is Green

From the days of "Things go better with Coke," to today's "Live Positively," the Coca Cola marketing train has never run out of ideas. Enter Kent Muhtar, son of a Turkish diplomat, and you have yet another spokesman in the soft drink's iconic PR wheel. Muhtar is the current Chief Officer of Coca Cola, but he titles himself, "Chief Sustainability Officer." 

Even while the company battles accusations from detractors, who think their product has entirely too much sugar and contributes to childhood obesity, Muhtar and his team have diplomatically moved past these complaints by offering people something they can hang their eco hats on: A broad ranging sustainability program that's integrated throughout the company's entire business plan.
Said Muhtar in a Forbes interview: "The [original plan] didn't have the right metrics around it. Sustainability was just a warm and fuzzy word in our corporate social responsibility report, and part of compliance. We also didn't have proper alignment with our bottling partners." 

Now Cola Cola is making constructive changes that have even their harshest critics blinking in disbelief. Some of their bolder plans involve returning as much water to the earth as they take out or becoming "water neutral"; reducing their carbon footprint by 5%, and the introduction of a "plantbottle" which is 30% plant material and 100% recyclable. Ideally, this should make the global manufacturing of their over 3,000 products a bit more palatable to John Q. Public.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pittsburgh's Tech, Art, Eco Fest Returns for 2013

"Never perfect...Just Beautiful" is the caption for GA/GI Fest. Each year, a mixture of the quirkiest, emerging and off-beat art, eco and tech ideas get a chance to be seen and heard during April's edition of First Fridays on Penn Avenue, an art crawl known as "Unblurred." This year it's on April 5th and 6th so mark those calendars! For more info from the blog, click here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Recyling Images: Warhol and Basquiat Olympic Art

Between 1983 and 1985, Basquiat and Warhol did a series of collaborative works. The 1984 Olympic games inspired this piece, which will be used as official art during the London games of 2012. Some say the two became somewhat co-dependent on each other during this period. As by then, Warhol's star was waning and Basquiat's was just rising. Still the interesting mix of "ready-made" iconography with oppositional graffiti was powerful. Get more-- Artlyst.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Eco Fashion: Dine in a Dress Made (YES!) From Wine

     Kudos for the University of Australia for coming up with this concept: In the future ladies, your dress may form itself right on your body without needing a stitch! And it's all thanks to a biological fermentation process that allows living microbes to produce fabric. These Aussy researchers for this process are even looking at ways to create alternate colors since they know the red color won't do for every girl. So far they have only come up with clear from beer or white wine, but they will most likely work that out as they tend to a few other "bugs. For example, unless you like a fine French "bouquet," you and your significant other won't enjoy that the fabric will smell like the vintage that created it.  And for heaven's sake don't get caught in the rain! When wet, these dresses will turn to sludge.

     On the up side, provided you do like wine aroma and live in southern Califtornia, where it hardly rains, or some other agreeable clime, this may be the (future) look for you. Says Bioalloy, makers of the--uh, stuff--they have named micro"be": "Instead of lifeless weaving maching producing the textile," it will all happen with living microbes.

     They have set out to explore, they say, the possible forms and implications of futuristic dressmaking and textile technologies.While the idea of a bacterial fermented seemless garment may seem like an alien concept, it will certainly "rupture the the meaning of traditional interactions with body and clothing."

Monday, June 11, 2012

Makey Makey: Computerize your Bananas into Bongos, Baby

...or even just piano keys.      Two 32-year graduate students--Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum--created the cool  Makey Makey device at the MIT Media Lab in Boston, Massachusetts.

     Their Kickstarter funding page (ending June 12) has got them 10,491 backers, netting them a war chest of over a half million at this writing!  But the pair wants their invention to be affordable, so they intend to sell Makey Makey for just around $35.

     The invention's name derives from Make + Key, and the product basically uses alligator clips, a USB connector, and a circuit board that can turn nearly anything with only a whiff of electronic charge (like gummies, cats, dogs or staircases) into a touch pad capable of typing, surfing the net, playing video games or music. Yes, you can even turn you and your friends into human synthesizers! The circuit board (which can be flipped and used on either side) is manufactured at Sparkfun, a company in Boulder, Colorado.

     Get more information click here or look on Silver and Rosenbaum's website.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Eat This / Strange Fruit

500 species of odd ball fruit reside at Miami-Dade County's Fruit and Spice Park in Florida. Bearing names that sound like characters in a future Luke Skywalker film--Antidesmas, Rollinas, and Ruskams--these plants are not only here and now, but some can be sampled on site. One to try: Black Sponte. It tastes like (not chicken ;-) chocolate pudding! If you visit the park, consider making it an all day outing; take lots of folks with you including grandma and the kids. We're talkin' 37 acres of natural weirdness, people. On your stroll, you'll enjoy over 160 varieties of mango trees, 75 varieties of bananas and other "exotic wonders." Get your marching orders from the park's visitors center. And this fruity space is the only one of its kind in the U.S.A., so don't be bashful. Get your full daily dose.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Jody Noble Choder: Raising the Roost in Pittsburgh, PA

For 2013 Info Click here!
We've all been taught about the greatest historical "movements": Civil Rights, Women's Rights, and even Beethoven's Fifth. But a chicken movement? Oh, yeah! It's the hottest, new trend and it's coming to a back yard near you. Consider the case of Jody Noble Choder, an urban chicken farmer in the Highland Park community of Pittsburgh, PA.

     Choder, has a normal job as a respected corporate attorney. She never really had it in her mind to raise chickens. However, with roots in Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania, she did consider herself a country bred girl with a dark secret.

     "To tell you the truth, when I hit my teenage years, I couldn't wait to get out to the city, " Choder admitted. "I wanted the bright lights, the wide sidewalks; all of that." And so, years later, after starting her legal career and getting married, she and her husband, Steve moved to Pittsburgh and into the Point Breeze community where after only a year into the renovation of their new home, Jody Noble Choder found a better house, a quiet place with a big yard, plenty of flora and fauna; up against the Highland Park damn. It would become the best of all possible worlds for her. 

     Said Choder, "You can take the girl out of the country, but not the country out of the girl. Well, it didn't stop there. Next thing I knew, I was watching Martha Stewart's TV show, putting in vegetable and French potager garden; building raised bed and gravel paths."

     No one can deny that Martha Stewart makes country living look more than incredible. When the lifestyle diva ran a story on raising chickens, Choder was smitten. She ran the idea of getting some young peeps past her husband. He was no instant Martha fan. He would only agree with the plan, if they built their own chicken coop, to save the expense. It was only much later that the couple realized they didn't have the carpentry skills to do it right.

     "We bought a dog house from Lowes and tried to retro fit it. The problem is we forgot about the door." The first spring their young peeps where killed by weasels, who lived near the damn. Choder refused to accept failure, but vowed not to bring another peep into the house, until they had their act together. 

     The second year, the Choders went back to To Lambert's Tack and Feed in Butler, PA, determined to get more peeps, and raise a better roost. With only a few more setbacks--young ducklings they purchased "disappeared," possibly met with foul play--the Choders soon became worthy of the title: Urban chicken farmers. They purchased a heat lamp and kept it and the young peeps on their sun porch to warm the downy birds so they could safely "feather out." They learned they had to harden them off, much like plants before the peeps could be placed outdoors. They perused every chicken raising catalogue and magazine known to man. Sure, they could build a better dog house, but it still wasn't a chicken coop. Before long, they spied an amazing Amish built chicken domicile.

     "Our chickens went from humble Section 8 housing to a five-star mansion," Choder said. The new coop had automatic doors, heated roots to warm their feet, special in-door lighting, nesting boxes, and an easy-clean floor. "Our hens must have felt like they hit the chicken lottery!"  The Choders then dubbed their feather friends with names. Now in addition to their dog, two cats and pond fish, there was Gregory Peck, a rooster; Buffy the Worm Slayer, Attila the Hen, Hillary Rodham Chicken, Princess Lay-a, and finally (who could resist it?) Mother Clucker.

     By six degrees of separation, the Choders began find other urban chicken farmers. the network grew through friends and friends of friends. By 2010 the group wanted to host the city's first self-guided coop tour. The plans were somewhat hampered when they learned the City of Pittsburgh was looking to create a chicken ordinance that required a zoning variance. However, by the next year the dust settled and the tour could be planned. And so, with four east end coops and four on the Northside, the first Urban Chicken Coop Tour was launched.

     "We expected some success, but for a first year event, the interest was phenomenal! We had over 450 people attend coming from Uniontown, West Virginia and as far away as Ohio." The numbers included a diverse range of men, women and children. At a price of only $5 for adults and children for free, the tour had great family appeal. The event even made the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

     Choder added simply: "People want to know where their food is coming from. It's an opportunity for parents to teach their kids something, and everyone wants to eat healthier." Tour-goers also got to see a variety of yard set-ups, and exchange chicken farming tips." It seemed not a single person went away lacking information.

     One of the surprise hits of the tour were the tee-shirts designed by Jason Sauer, owner of Most Wanted Fine Art, a gallery and Yoga spot on Penn Avenue. The tees were emblazoned with the caption: Chicks In The Hood. They quickly sold out. Proceeds from the the tour were donated to the Urban Food Bank.

     "Chickens are lot like potato chips; you can't have just one," explained Jody Noble Choder. Still, she hasn't gone down the crazy chicken slope, like a friend of hers (who shall remain nameless). She only maintains five chickens."The treatment of the birds by most urban farmers is very humane. The birds aren't injected with chemicals, they are free range, and we give them organic feed." The Choders raise a kinder, gentler chicken. The eggs the hens produce are given away to friends and even neighborhood restaurants like Salt, which have offered trade in return.

     "Some people are surprised by what we do, but I don't know why," said Choder. "People use to raise chickens in the city all the time, before it fell out of favor. It's such a good and holistic practice. It's nice to have some control over what you eat."

Take your Dad to see some Chicks this Fathers’ Day!


2nd Annual Pittsburgh Urban Chicken Coop Tour