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Over Easy: The Human Face of Sustainability (updated)

4:24 am in Uncategorized by Crane-Station

Food from one of the author's many dumpster diving expeditions.

The Human Face of Sustainability is a creative non-fiction essay contest with a May, 13, 2013 deadline and a 4000-word limit.

We welcome personal essays or stories about extraordinary individuals or communities, and stories about innovative solutions to sustainability. We seek essays on topics that range from global to local, from “big” (e.g., Resilience after natural disaster;) New technology solutions vs. common sense; Energy harvesting) to “small” (e.g., Personal decisions about consumption; Reuse, recycle, up-cycle, bicycle?; Green, clean—what does it mean?; What can we learn from past generations?). Whatever the subject, we want to hear about it in an essay that blends facts and research with narrative—employing scenes, descriptions, etc.

I may consider entering an essay, because my husband and I are more than half-way through our third consecutive year of eating from dumpsters, and pretty much everything we use and wear has also come from dumpsters. We have a motorcycle as our only vehicle. Because sustainability is the capacity to endure, I believe our small personal experiences fit the criteria in the description.

However, when I looked at this list of sustainability article topics, I nearly gave up. (The list is not on the essay site. It is on Wikipedia.) For example, what is Adiabatic Lapse Rate? What does that have to do with getting kicked out of a grocery store for carrying our empty backpacks (we’re on a motorcycle) into a store?

I had better luck searching Google Scholar, where I found a lecture titled, Simple Ways to Green Your Organization: Presented at the Conference on Community Based Aging Services November 5, 2009, as well as other school-related projects where students share their dumpster diving experiences. However, I have yet to find an article describing the nitty-gritty of real-life, daily dependence on this activity.

What we cannot find in the dumpsters, we find in the thrift stores, most notably our local Goodwill in Lone Oak (Paducah) KY, that is the best-managed, most fun store I have ever been in. Seriously.

My question for readers at Firedoglake is, what does sustainability mean to you? How does that word look in your day-to-day living? Maybe you visit the thrift store more often than you used to. Do you decline a plastic bag at a grocery, or do you get creative with leftovers, or does it mean taking to the streets to protest oil pipelines sure to lead to ecological destruction? Were you to write such an essay, what topic would you choose?

One thing I have observed is that there is a lot more reality and pain in the world than we ever would imagine by looking at the surface, and the evidence in in the trash. We flush the toilet and walk away, as if it never happened.

Now to the news. The Mayor of Houston admits to having furnished a few college apartments through dumpster diving, and the Houston city council says they are going to look at amending the original ordinance that cited a homeless man for digging food out of a dumpster. This man (a homeless veteran, by the way) was only trying to feed himself, so lets hope that the “quality of life committee,” where the issue will go can set an example.

Although this image is what some media unfortunately continue to promote, this is not what I have observed in my many years of experience with this activity.

“Dumpster diving is an inevitable result of a our horrifically mismanaged economy,” said long-time Dumpster diver Randy Crary from We Asked Dumpster Divers About a Plan To Sell Expired Food.

US paradox: Wasting food while going hungry. In the US, we waste nearly as much food as we consume, every day. Does this surprise you at all?

The dumpster was invented in 1935. So, during much of the Great Depression era, there were no dumpsters (Letty verifies this. She is 88). Today, at any given large shopping mall in the US, huge compacting waste containers are commonplace. The largest landfill in America today is in unincorporated Los Angeles County, and it is called Puente Hills Landfill. (aka Inland Empire area.)The landfill gas created by the landfill is funneled to the Puente Hills Gas-to-Energy Facility, which generates 50 megawatts of electricity. (wiki)

Perspective: Penn and Teller Bullshit – Recycling Part 1 Sorting is a huge part of recycling, most people do not realize this.

If you are looking to read a story from Letty, I can tell you that we are planning to do a post on colloquialisms. Example: “If his brains was axle grease, he wouldn’t have sense enough to grease the dynamo on a lightning bug’s ass,” or, as my dad used to say, “When I say ‘Frog,’ you’d better say ‘How High do I Jump.’” And he kept a straight face.

If you are looking for satire today, I recommend that you not have a full bladder when you watch A Day in the Life of a Criminal Defense Attorney, lest you wet yourself. (Satire especially fun if you are familiar with the 2-5-I SODDI defense: I had 2 beers, five hours ago, and I was just minding my own business when some other dude did it.)

The only other contest I have entered is an essay about addiction based on a bridge metaphor, and it is called The Bridge of Sighs. If that topic interests you at all, you may want to read it. It’s short.

Over Easy: Internet Slang 12-12-12 LOL, WOOT!

4:48 am in Uncategorized by Crane-Station

The Rolling Stones are in New York for a 12-12-12 benefit concert to aid the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Producers say the event “will have unprecedented and historic global distribution, similar to that of the Superbowl, the Academy Awards®, and the Grammys®.” The concert will live-stream from 29 web sites including YouTube and will also feature Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Chris Martin, Roger Waters, Eddie Vedder, Kanye West and The Who. Celebrity presenters include Jon Stewart, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sean Combs and Chris Rock.

The word 'OMG' cut into a dictionary page.

Will Over Easy eventually become known as just OE on FDL?

Texting Turns 20, LOL

Here is a true statement:

Kellen Christensen ‏@kdc824
What a weird time we live in; the sheriff just mentioned the #clackamasshooting hashtag
Expand Reply Retweet Favorite More

Internet slang refers to a variety of everyday languages used by different communities on the Internet. The new becomes known within a matter of hours. Is Time an Illusion?

1. reports its current trending terms (most looked up). As of December 10, 2012, the top five are acronyms:

1. YOLO You Only Live Once
2. SMH Shaking My Head
3. OOMF One Of My Friends/Followers
4. YMCMB Young Money Cash Money Billionaires
5. OOTD Offer Of The Day or Outfit Of The Day

No one can hear you scream on Twitter.

The military uses acronym, and so do the stock market and climate change communities. While the United States Supreme Court is set to review a controversial issue best known by its acronym, a D.C. Circuit Judge Calls Use of Acronyms ‘Painful.‘ Judge Laurence Silberman explains:

“Here,” the judge wrote in June, “both parties abandoned any attempt to write in plain English, instead abbreviating every conceivable agency and statute involved, familiar or not.” Recognize these? The examples Silberman highlighted: SNF (spent nuclear fuel); HLW (high-level radioactive waste); and NWF (Nuclear Waste Fund).

2. Text (((hugs))) have magical powers, even if the person cannot see them. At least that is true in our community.

In October we learned that Firedoglake beloved front page editor John Chandley, aka Scarecrow, had been diagnosed with a serious illness. Hugs are in order: (((John/Scarecrow)))

3. Engaging a troll in fact-based rational discussion is futile. Hence the acronym DNFTT. Or, the flag:

Margaret January 18th, 2012 at 10:05 pm 6

There are various types of trolling:

Reverse trolling sweeps American schools with craze for Facebook pages dedicated to anonymous compliments

The book lol…OMG! is “very good, and an easy read. But not lighthearted — these kids don’t realize that what they post is like their official school record, which follows them practically forever.” (hat tip msmolly) lol…OMG! on Amazon.

Ever heard the terms ‘Dead Man Troll’ or ‘necrobully?’

4. WOOT: WOOT is “Hurrah (Wow, Loot!).”

Petrocelli February 17th, 2012 at 10:05 pm
*wOOt !* *wOOt !* … {{{{{ SUZ }}}}}

The Onion’s Plan For Solving The Fiscal Cliff Crisis. Why didn’t we think of these easy solutions? WOOT!/s

STEP ONE: Eliminate school breakfast and lunch programs, Medicaid, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, Medicare, PBS, New Mexico, elk, the Coast Guard, and all dams.

STEP TWO: Eliminate all nonessential public school programs entirely and offer only three courses: Corn Farming, Nuclear Weaponry, and Print Journalism.

5. On FDL, this person:

I’m waiting for the day when EPU’d threads become like underground salons where the hipper-than-thou FDLers hang out and chat once the …

is talking about threads where the discussion has ended and most everyone has moved on to another (EPU’d threads).

6. How are you feeling today, on 12-12-12? Pick from this list of emoticons and let us know!

An SAT Disappointment Story, in Emoticons

7. Snark

Gmail outage provokes snark, anxiety among users


OmAli December 10th, 2012 at 8:23 am
I’d be thrilled to power my house for $2500/ yr with photovoltaics.

Doing that research and manufacturing here, right?/s

In unique end-of-comment evolution, Over Easy: Monday Science author Boxturtle removes the / symbol and inserts a concise and brief parenthetical ‘take’:

BoxTurtle December 11th, 2012 at 8:04 am 2
Your link to salon is bad.
Boxturtle (You horrible person, you!)


Protect IP/SOPA Breaks the Internet

A Half-Time Analysis of the Summit That Could Shape the Future of the Internet

9. Twitter is ready for 12-12-12

William Howard Taft ‏@WilliamTaft27
I was president the last time it was 12/12/12!
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Pete Cashmore ‏@mashable
12-12-12 Sandy Relief Concert Will Be Largest Event in Music History

10. LOL, WOOT! This is Over Easy, not the end of the world

When did you first encounter acronyms, emoticons and other slang? What terms have you recently looked up? Please feel free to share perspective over coffee, tea, juice or breakfast! Or else, be the one who grabs the 12:12:12 12/12/12 comment:)

Photo by See-ming Lee released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.