Earth Day fail…

So I took the footprint calculator quiz and discovered much to my dismay that I’m an ecological hog. If everyone lived like me, we’d need 5.2 planet earths to provide enough resources. Just to support me, it takes 23 global acres of the earth’s productive area.

How does the US rate as a whole?  Sadly, the gap between our ecological footprint and the planet’s biocapacity to sustain us has only widened in the past two years.

The planet’s not going to multiply, so how can I better fit the planet?   To decrease my footprint I’ll:

  • purchase products that use less packaging and those I do purchase will be made out of post-consumer recycled materials
  • take less vacations involving air travel. I’ll continue to carpool and purchase vehicles with better fuel economy.
  • buy locally produced food (less packaging, trasport costs and the like mean a smaller footprint)
  • plant a  fruit/vegetable garden and compost organic materials (zero packaging or transport costs).
  • plan the week’s meals in advance to cut down on food waste, trips to the market and impulse buying
  • buy second-hand items, especially for the kids who grow out of things so quickly (recycling that’s good for the earth and for the pocket-book)
  • lower my thermostat by 4 degrees (and program it to stay low)
  • continue to recycle (here’s a list of recyclables from the EPA)
  • continue to use the green option from my public utilities provider

Here are even more ideas for living green.

Business assistance for local entrepreneurs

OpenBusThe Small Business Administration and Department of Labor have partnered on a new website to help states offer assistance to local entrepreneurs who want to start their own businesses.

The site is geared toward helping states take advantage of the $35 Million the federal government gave to states to implement Self-Employment Assistance programs to help those looking to create jobs in their communities.

These programs provide Unemployment Insurance recipients interested in starting a business with financial assistance, training and resources to get their businesses off the ground. Among the links to resources on the site, there is a link to the New York State fact sheet on how to apply for local assistance through this program.

Count down to earth day

This year, is focusing their theme on facing climate change.  To draw attention to the fact that climate change impacts us all, a global mosaic is being built.  Organizers are asking folks to upload photos that include a face with a sign that says “The Face of Climate Change.”  So go ahead and personalize your message to the world.


Infographics get a second wind

Info-ArtToolsInfographics have been around for centuries, from ancient cave paintings  to modern subway maps to (probably the most recognizable infograph of all time) the Periodic Table published back in 1869.

Recently, infographics and info-art have gotten a second wind.  Data visualization has have become a popular trend for folks who want to quickly and easily present complex information.  It’s no wonder since we live in an age where data is being produced at exponential rates.  In fact, Google executives estimate that every two days, we create as much data as we did between the “dawn of time through 2003.”  Every two days!  Much of this is generated from social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Four Square and the like.

The increasing number of easy-to-use tools available has also made it easier for those without a degree in design to generate creative infographics; and to share them with the masses via social media.

Here’s a few tools that you might try:

Piktochart Tagxedo
Wordle Many Eyes
 Stat Planet by Stat Silk  creately

….more tools.

To hell in a hand basket…

For some reason, the phrase “going to hell in a hand basket” came to mind as I was riding the escalator down to my afternoon sessions at the CIL Conference. Hmmm…
I was thinking, why a hand basket? Why? So, I looked it up and according the phrase finder it may be similar to going to hell in a hand-cart meaning life is easier (and probably more fun, just sayin’…) to be carried off to hell than to work hard for a place in heaven.
Or, it may relate to the imagery of heads collected and carried in a hand basket post-guillotining. Well, so much for associating hand baskets with bunnies and Easter candy ever again.
You’re very welcome for this bit of useless info!

Standing at a place from history

So I’m in Washington D.C. for the second time in almost as many years. The first time for ALA 2010 and now for Computers in Libraries. The last time I was here, my “must see” was the Lincoln Memorial. We started at the Washington Monument and hiked our way down beside the reflecting pool. Me being the geek that I am, I was quoting lines from that war protest scene in Forrest Gump the whole way… When we got to the Lincoln Monument and trudged up those stairs to that larger than life effigy, I was totally at a loss for words. I stood there and looked back the way we had come and was suddenly struck by the place from history in which I stood. It was a moment in time that I’ll never forget.

It’s two years later I’m back again in the capital district that’s suddenly crawling with librarians of every shape, size and background imaginable. This time I didn’t have to go far to be transported back in time. As it turns out, we’re staying at the Washington Hilton where in March of 1981 (incidentally the day before my birthday…) an assassination attempt was made on President Ronald Reagan.

I was only 7 years old at the time of the shooting, but remember the flurry it caused even in the little backwater town where I grew up.So as it turns out, the assassination attempt occurred at the back door of this very hotel, my hotel… Being the librarian I am, I looked up the incident on Wikipedia (hey, I was only 7 when it happened and a reference librarian is a reference librarian-we look stuff up!) then went around back to see the spot for myself. Again, I found myself standing in a place out of history.

Online storage options

In just a handful of decades, technology has come a long way in terms of computing storage. There were the punch cards in the 1960s, cassette tapes in the 1970s, floppy disks in the 1980s, CD-R and RW discs in the 1990s, and the 2000s saw the advent of thumb drives and SD cards.

Today, there are a number of storage options are available for students on most campuses, including jump drives, CD-R & RW, DVD-R and file space on campus servers. Your ipod can also be used just like a thumb drive, provided you haven’t packed it to it’s limit with music… And don’t forget that you can store your files in the “cloud.” For instance, many colleges have obtained Google Enterprise accounts and offer students free accounts. Using such an account, you can create an unlimited number of google documents, presentations and spreadsheets. Additionally, you can upload up to 1 GB of word, pdf, and power point, and excel files to your google docs account. Once you do so, you can access them from any computer with internet access.
There are a number of other online storage services for which you can take advantage, most of which offer 1 or 2 GB of free storage. Dropbox is an online storage service that allows you to store/share up to 2GB of files. You have to install a small program on your computer to run it, but it allows you to upload any type of file as long as it is under 350MB. Similar services include ElephantDrive (2GB free), FilesAnywhere (1 GB free), and FlipDrive (1 GB free) to name a few. (LiveMesh is a similar service that allows you to store up to 5GB for free, but only works for PC users running Vista or Windows 7).
For storing photos and videos, there are a number of options available. Google’s Picasa Web Album is accessible through your Geneseo Google Apps account. Picasa allows you to store (and share if you wish) up to 1 GB of video and photo files. An alternative to Picasa is Flickr, which allows you to upload up to 300 MB of photos and 2 videos per month.
Do you have a favorite storage/sharing service not mentioned above?  Leave a comment below to let me know about it!