Thursday, January 29, 2009

Round Up

In this round up: schools of rock, loathsome people, eyebrow dancing, cardboard airplane, greener gaming, upon which foods to spend your organic dollar, industrial produce not as nutritious, reused mini-greenhouse, tax breaks for energy efficient home improvements, and who killed the plug-in hybrid.

Oh, yeah, and I added a couple more resources to my parenting resources page.

Carrie Brownstein, one of the members of the awesome band Sleater Kinney, posted her highly insightful and entertaining thoughts on rock schools.

Some blog called The Beast posted a list of The 50 Most Loathsome People, which Kottke recommended with a delicious excerpt of his favorite entry. (Thanks for sharing, Rebecca!)

Serious Eats posted an hilarious video of two kids doing an eyebrow dance. (Thanks for sharing again, Rebecca!)

I ALWAYS loved playing with cardboard boxes when I was a kid. When my friend Leslie Goodrich's parents got a new refrigerator, I invited myself over just to play with it. I felt sorta bad for her dad who had spent like two years making a huge Victorian dollhouse from scratch and it was sitting right next to the cardboard box and we didn't touch it once. And when my friend Todd Lawrence moved to town and we discovered we both had a love of cardboard boxes, we went to all the shops on Lake Street asking for their leftover boxes and carried them to his backyard and built a HUGE fort out of them. It was one of the highlights of my childhood. So when I saw CardboardDesign's cardboard airplane over at Re-Nest, I had the most pleasant of flashbacks. Check out all the other fun stuff they have for kids, like a castle and a rocket.

I know SOMEONE who might read this is a wee bit into games. So when I saw Re-Nest's post about greener games I thought it might be of interest to our readers. Would that same reader have any more suggestions for greener gaming? Any game manufacturers particularly ecofriendly?

In these trying economic times sometimes cutting back means not buying exclusively local organic food. When you have to make that choice, check out The Daily Green's list of fruit and veg that are lower on pesticides and their list of foods that have the heaviest burden of pesticides, chemicals, additives and hormones. The fruit and veg on the dirty list might also be good to prioritize in your home garden since growing them will be more economical than buying organic AND you control the pesticides. Via Consumerist.

Another plus in the grow your own fruit and veg column: industrially grown produce is less nutritious. Tom Philpott over at Gristmill posted about a recent article that compiled a number of studies that found declining nutrients in fruits and vegetables bred for higher yield. For the home gardener, this also suggests that true heirloom varieties are probably a better choice than high-yield hybrids.

As we've been talking about starting seeds for our herb garden and I keep our house pretty cold, this post about reusing plastic packaging to make an indoor seed-starting greenhouse at Re-Nest caught my eye.

Consumer Report's Home & Garden blog has a great post about the federal tax credits available for homeowners who make energy efficient improvements to their homes including installing alternative energy sources, tankless water heaters, natural gas heating systems, and insulation. Via Consumerist.

Gristmill referred me to an article in the East Bay Express by Robert Gammon about the California Air Resources Board's efforts to institute a regulation that would prevent the conversion of hybrids to plug-in hybrids. It's like Who Killed the Electric Car: The Sequel (subtitle: Who Killed the Plug-in Hybrid) by Michael Scott with Dwight Shrute. OK, not that last part. Sorry, lines from The Office just pop out sometimes. I can't control it. Once you get all anxious and righteously indignant reading the East Bay Express article, go read's update on the CARB hearing. In sum:

The Board detached the aftermarket conversion issues from the general test procedures for new PHEV manufacturers and then approved the latter. For retrofitters, the Board Members directed its staff to review options for rules that would promote innovation and foster new business and job formation.

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