Z-DAY from Peter Thomas on Vimeo. "In late October 2009 a meteor crashed into St Werberghs, Bristol U.K. While the initial damage was contained efficiently and promptly by the authorities, Solanum-based particles from the meteor quickly spread on the wind, infecting many of the local population and causing a class-2 zombie infestation/outbreak. Within hours, the walking dead had descended on Broadmead Shopping Centre in search of meat and brains... Few survived and many souls were lost that day, however a blood-stained video tape from a local underground film-maker was recovered from the wreckage... Following a press black-out, this film documents the fateful event (dubbed "Z-Day" by locals), and provides a rare and privileged insight into a full-scale zombie attack on a densly populated urban area."
Flavorwire » Blog Archive » DJ /rupture’s Favorite Cities and Songs "Bristol is amazing, and it’s especially amazing for all sorts of different types of bass music. For a track, it’s hard to say, because there’s so much dub, dubstep, UK garage, reggae, as well… all this stuff coming out of Bristol. But my favorite spot in Bristol, I think it’s a Sunday night party, is at this place called Cosies."
Following from this there is of course next weeks Pestival, which Stewart Lee fans will probably already be aware of from his 41st Greatest Stand-up routine. Comedy at the insect themed festival is provided by Robin Ince along with many other fasinating insect based art projects from the Termite Pavilion to broadcasts from Resonance FM and workshops from The Art of Being a Maggot to Praying Mantis Kung Fu. Sadly I can't make any of this, but I'm most upset missing out on Cross Pollination, where “Internationally acclaimed sound recordist for BBC’s Life in the Undergrowth and original member of Cabaret Voltaire, Chris Watson, curates an evening of experimental insect music.”
Due to a family wedding I was also unable to attend Chris Watson's workshop at UWE last weekend, and I forgot to blog about it in advance, but there are still some events to go on the STAGING SOUND 2.0programme, including the Dorkbot Bristol Sound Hack followed by Guerilla Busking in Bath this Saturday.
Back on an environmental footing, various national media have picked up on the “living wall that died” in Islington. Most of the press have hung the story off of the waste-of-public-money angle rather than the technical issues with the failed watering system / learning experience / maybe the odd weather we've had? There most be an engineer somewhere mopping a sweaty brow as that one passes over. Either that or (s)he will be saying “I told you so.” A year or so ago I'd've worried that this would lead to a cut in spending on environmental projects but in the current financial and political climate I know it's going to get cut anyway regardless of previous successes or failures. Not good times.
Fine Waters: Comprehensive Resource of Bottled Water of the World Etiquette for Drinking Temperature: "Serving all waters at the same temperature, let’s say 55 degrees Fahrenheit, will nicely show their differences. A slight increase in temperature will have a calming effect on waters with larger, louder bubbles. In general, the colder the water, the more focused it will be.Water can be served at almost any temperature, but knowing how to manipulate temperature will allow you to better pair the waters with food and establish a true epicurean dialogue." Or you could serve it ice cold and some people like to serve it at 100 degrees C with an infusion of leaves. [thanks Jules]
"These boots by Adbusters are made from hemp and used car tyres. They are supposed to resemble Converse All- Stars, yet are trade- mark free. Selling over twenty-five thousand pairs, the campaign strives to undermine the premise that global business' sometimes require the use of sweatshops through necessity."
If you visit rural North America in the winter you might be surprised by how many homes are heated by burning wood in sophisticated “dual-fuel” central heating systems.
But is this good for the environment?
Yes — as long as the wood comes from sustainably managed woodlots, according to Paul Grogan at Queen’s University in Canada.
Writing in the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, Grogan and colleagues claim that a woodlot 3.5 hectares in size would provide an average household with carbon-neutral heating in perpetuity.
The reason, of course, it that carbon given off by woodburning is offset by new growth in the woodlot.
The usual objection to such biofuels is that they are derived from nasty monocultures that displace food crops. Not so in Grogan’s calculation, which is based on a woodlot of native species — so it’s good for the local ecosystem.
And in many parts of North America — particularly in the East — the amount of native woodland is actually increasing as unproductive farmland is taken out of production. So food crops are not being displaced…
…or are they?
I’m guessing that some of this farmland is going out of production because it is cheaper to grow food in say Mexico and then truck it across North America — than it is to grow the same crop 50 miles from New York City.
So, should we ‘split wood, not atoms’ as that old hippy bumper sticker says?
"The concept of terroir has its origins in French winemaking, as a means to describe the effect of geographic origin on taste. As a shorthand marker for both provenance and flavor, and as a sign of its burgeoning conceptual popularity, it has spread to encompass Kobe beef, San Marzano tomatoes, and even single-plantation chocolate. But can water have terroir? What about the influence of the earth on water?"
The hydrogeologist I sit next to in work got quiet excited by this link and started telling me about all of the different bottles there and where they're from. Apparently in taste tests most people prefer the most heavily filtered waters with the least mineral content. Which begs the question of how the "worlds most expensive bottled water", Bling h2o, is actually filtered.
I have some theories but I don't think they are hygienic. On that note...
I was looking for examples of the break taking underwater photography of "the photographer known simply as Candice" - don't try Google Imaging Searching that - of fresh2o. Her name is actually Candice Campbell.
This shot of Louise Watts is the one that intrigued me when I spotted it in the Times.
"fresh2o is a dramatic initiative, designed to raise awareness of this incredible challenge to humanity. Innovative photographer Candice, a pioneer of the underwater portrait, has devised an incredibly impactful series of images using celebrity icons with a global presence. These extraordinary portraits are designed to connect, engage and motivate consumers worldwide, alerting the globe to the fresh water crisis."
"Each month, hotels and motels provide Clean the World Foundation with their discarded soap and shampoo products. These slightly-used products often end up in already overflowing landfills and can potentially contaminate fragile groundwater systems. Once collected, these products are repurposed using environmentally-friendly and hygienically-safe recycling efforts and distributed worlwide."
It was also pointed out to me, after making my cardboard pinhole camera from Magma, that Urban Outfitters also sale them, although not the same model. They have a nice range of Lomos and related goodies too.
But somehow it rankles with me how stylishly it's all dressed up.
A large number of goats in Taiwan may have died of exhaustion because of noise from a wind farm.
How close were they? I've seen cows in the same field as turbines without issue. Maybe because they couldn't get away from it? Maybe goats are light sleepers?
I will be preparing a bid for a detailed study into this issue. It will involve me living in Asia for several months, maybe years, and access to as many goats as I could ask for. I may then move on to other animals. I expect the government grant any day now.
BBC5 TV "We are NOT the BBC. In an era when the majority of media corporations are subservient to ruling elites, new forms of underground media have to emerge. BBC5.tv would not exist if journalists were always allowed to publish the truth. The fact is that many are silenced."
Last week someone stuck in front of me an article about a proposed eco-village in Hanham, on the outskirts of Bristol. Interesting as it was, all I could focus on was the graphic designer's hidden joke. Note the child on the tricycle approaching the cross roads from the right. Notice the slightly faster moving but further off runner heading towards the same junction. Then notice the clearly distracted cyclist, his head on sidewise, some distance away but bearing down at great speed from the left. This scene is about to get very messy.
This prompted me to look up what's currently going on with the Elizabeth Shaw Chocolate Factory redevelopment not so far away. (See some of Lisa Furness's photos of the closed down building here.) It seems the inspiration for the new development has been taken from a Brothers Grim story illustrated by MC Escher about a hunted shed. Not one I'm familiar with I'll admit.
Here is the full list of 200 words which, the Local Government Association says should not be used by councils.
Can you imagine trying to write an Environmental Impact Assessment (part of my job) without referring to the Baseline conditions, Best Practice approach to construction, using Guidelines, making your assessment Robust, performing a Scoping exercise or considering Sustainability?
I can see that these GUIDELINES are suggesting that these words should be avoided unless necessary (it was the BBC who called it a ban) but many of them already are the best way of explaining something in plain English.
In the winter of light "There are architecture photographers [who] refuse to photograph anything from November up to February," Michiel van Raaij writes on his blog Eikongraphia. "In their view the long shadows and dimmed light intensity of the winter season compromises their work. The effect is that – in the architecture media – not only the sun always shines, but that it is also never winter."
Warmed by Crematorium I recently worked on the design of a retirement home next door to a crematorium. It seemed a bit presumptuous, if inevitable. This goes several steps further, but I like the green credentials.
"Grow your own oyster mushrooms to eat for a truly unique eco gift.
Place the specially selected spores in an old paperback book, moisten and watch them grow in just five weeks.
This quirky gift is a fun and easy way to discover gourmet mushroom growing. No garden is required! Just add a paperback book to personalise this gift for the recipient or the mushrooms can be grown on the jute bag provided.
Contains a pack of starter spawn, a filter grow-bag and full instructions. The kit can be stored for up to 3 months by placing the starter spawn in a fridge. Each kit is supplied with a use-by-date."
Speaking of which, the Triffids are back too! I'm slightly concerned that 'it is billed as a "fast-paced, futuristic and electrifying take" on Wyndham's work' but I still can't wait to see it. Slow, impending dread is always better. As Simon Pegg explains.
Isle of plenty "In the past 10 years, one Danish island has cut its carbon footprint by a staggering 140%. Now, with a simple grid of windfarms, solar panels and sheep, it's selling power to the mainland and taking calls from Shell. ... 'Shell heard about what we were doing and asked to be involved - but only on condition they ended up owning the turbines. We told them to go away. We are a nation of farmers. We believe in self-sufficiency.'"
A previously unknown arsenic-loving bacteria may provide a way to keep one of Canada's most toxic sites from poisoning one of the country's largest lakes and river systems ... "We found bacteria that will grow below 10 degrees. You could theoretically use them to help remove arsenic completely from water."
Do government departments waste piles of our tax on slick marketing, carefully worded sound bytes and committee led graphic design? No, not all of them. There's the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). Who produce documents like Habitat management for bats: A guide for land managers, land owners and their advisors [1.4MB PDF] the fill it with cartoon drawings that seem to confuse bats with some kind of flightless bouncing ground-borne mammal, like an excitable winged mole, and even provides a table to demonstrate how common or rare a given species is that includes a key with various stages of happy flappy bats.
"Knickers made from bamboo and soy have been launched as part of an eco-friendly underwear collection. Designer Joanna Ketterer [of Luva Huva]said the garments are super soft and 'not only beautiful but ethically sound'. The fabric for the lingerie is made from the pulp of bamboo grass which resembles unspun cotton and can be woven and dyed."
Bristol city centre's temporary new fountain after an accident involving a council worker this morning. He made a couple of attempts to turn it off, throwing his key down in disgust each time he failed, and spent a lot of time on the phone before back-up arrived. Meanwhile, an office full of environmental engineers watch on in horror.
The End Water Poverty campaign, which WaterAid supports, has been targeting the G8 to agree a global action plan for sanitation and water since 2007, but we now need to build even more pressure in the lead-up to the summit in July.
We need more signatures targeted at the Japanese Prime Minister, Yasuo Fukuda, who is this year's G8 host. Click below and become one of almost a million action-takers!
We need to show it's time for change! Sanitation and safe water are basic human rights. Everyone in the world should have access to them. But without these services thousands will continue to die each day. The solutions are simple but the G8 need to commit to this action plan. Please tell them: it's time for change.
Today is the start of "Compost Awareness Week," or CAW as it has been unnecessarily abbreviated. (We prefer to simply refer to it as The 'Post in our house.)
The awareness week "is an initiative of WRAP and The Composting Association, and together they will be encouraging everyone to 'Green up their Environment' this Sunday 4th May to Saturday 10th May.
"The initiative began in Canada in 1995 and was brought to the UK for the first time in 2001 by The Composting Association. Since then, it has gradually been adopted by other stakeholders including community composting groups and local authority waste departments as a week in which to concentrate composting promotional efforts.
"If you’re new to home composting, you may need some help so visit the consumer pages on the CAW website for lots of tips on how to make and use compost, as well as where to buy peat-free compost that contains recycled materials. There are downloadable leaflets which include information on how to be greener in the garden, as well as an events locator which will help you find your nearest compost event. Another site worth visiting is homecomposting.org.uk
"Reduced cost compost bins are also being offered in partnership with some councils so if you need one, enter your postcode here to find out about offers in your region.
"And for the ultimate in composting accessories – de rigeur, you know – click here."
PS If anyone can identify my fungus I'd be interested. The one pictured above that is. The other one is a whole other blog. ;-]
Rare conditions could have conspired to create hard-to-see ice on the Sea of Galilee that a person could have walked on back when Jesus is said to have walked on water, a scientist said today.
The study, which examines a combination of favorable water and environmental conditions, proposes that Jesus could have walked on an isolated patch of floating ice on what is now known as Lake Kinneret in northern Israel.
Looking at temperature records of the Mediterranean Sea surface and using analytical ice and statistical models, scientists considered a small section of the cold freshwater surface of the lake.
The results suggest temperatures dropped to [-4 degrees C] during one of the two cold periods 2,500 –1,500 years ago for up to two days, the same decades during which Jesus lived.
Over on LiveScience we learn that a new company has started using "a mixture of soap-based foams and lighter-than-air gases such as helium" to create "floating ads and messages" in the sky. Unfortunately dubbed Flogos, these floating logos can be made – or printed, really – every 15 seconds by "re-purposed snow machines," thus "flooding the air with foamy peace signs or whatever shape a client desires. Renting the machine for a day starts out at a cost of about $2,500." [via bldg blog]
There is a passage in John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids where he decribes how quickly London was taken over by plant life once the human population had moved out. It seemed a little over the top to me when I first read it. Until I saw this. The closed down Wildwalk building in the centre of Bristol is still full of thriving plant life despite not being cared for. And in places it has broken through the façade to the outside, so it can hang it's branches in the sun and rain again. The building is being eaten alive from the inside. Unfortunaely it looks like it's going to be reopened (as an aquarium) so we're not going to be able to chart nature's conquest over it as I would like to see. Maybe in a few years we'll see it being torn apart from the inside by a giant squid. I look foward to that.
Complete Receipt Defeat "I recently bought a four-pack of Play-Doh — big plans for the weekend — at my local Toys R Us and received, along with my purchase, over a foot and a half of receipt. That comes out to almost an inch of paper for every dime I spent. Here it is, broken down by height in inches..." [via lmg]
Computers to fly kites and produce energy | The News is NowPublic.com A cunning idea for getting the most out of wind energy, anyone who flies a kite knows how you can keep it up even in very low winds by flying a figure of eight pattern, and the idea of controlling that effectively robotically is fascinating. Unfortunately the article is very slim on details of how the power is generated from doing this, except to say that "when the kites tug on the lines this turns the turbine." I'd like to see more detail there, and know if it generates enough energy to power the computer that's controlling it for a start.
A couple of my Bristol Kite Festival photos from last week appear alongside the article, but everyone else's are much better, have a look at those.
The Rambler visits the US: 'WTF-check-your-perspective moment: From TV news: “It’s 101 degrees in Texas at the moment, but don’t worry if you’re going to the game – they’re closing the roof and the air conditioning will be on.” While we Brits worry about the carbon differential between organic and non-organic beef, Texans are air conditioning sports stadia…'
Slashfood reports on the possibilities of Solar Cooking; with a pot, a sheet of glass, and a solar reflector you can have a slow cooker without any power requirements other than the light of the sun. There is a How To guide to building one here and downloadable plans at solarcooking.org. Coconino has some flickr photos of his solar cooking experiments in the UK.
"In January 2007 a blog post titled Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year proposed the theory that a black version of the Google search engine would save a fair bit of energy due to the popularity of the search engine. Since then there has been skepticism about the significance of the energy savings that can be achieved and the cost in terms of readability of black web pages."
Hmm. May save approx 15 watts on a CRT monitor, negligible benefit on an LCD/TFT. Loses a lot of Google’s functionality. Might be better just to switch to one of the darker iGoogle skins.
Bristol is in the early stages of establishing itself as the largest 'Sustainable Community in the land' and this 'Transition' label refers to the changes away from unsustainable practices into something more sound. Transition City Bristol is based on community action and follows a similar initiative that originated in Kinsale (Ireland), and has also taken off in Plymouth, Falmouth, Lewes and other places.
"An average-size club, open three nights a week, consumes 150 times the energy a four-person family does in a year. ... It's perhaps the ultimate consumerist activity. ... Enviu/Doll plan to take eco-clubbing to a new level. The collaboration has resulted in a number of systems, currently in development, that could minimise the footprint of clubbing. ... For example, the principles of acoustic design are based around the same as those applied to Roman amphitheatres, where the sound is encouraged to bounce off surfaces, thus allowing music to be played at a considerably reduced volume ... the lighting uses the same LED technology found in car tail-lights. [the roof space] incorporates small tubes in which to collect rain water, which is then heated by sunlight to provide warm water to the wash basins within the club below. ... one thing clubbers do a lot of is sweat. Loaded with warm perspiration, the air rises, where it is sucked out of the space, passed through a cooling chamber where it condenses and can then be used to flush the lavatories. ... Most inventive of all is the development of a dance floor that converts the movement of clubbers on it into electricity."