Friday, August 29, 2008

Hitch up the camper!

I found this postcard in an old trunk belonging to my Dad's mother, who died almost 20 years ago. It was blank and contained an uncanceled 1-cent stamp. Seemed like an appropriate image to usher in the Labor Day weekend.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Change the margins

On her environmental blog, writer/actress Tamara Krinsky says, "I've always tried to save paper. Not because I was an environmental revolutionary. But because I was poor. When I found myself going through reams of paper on a regular basis as I was printing out drafts of articles and audition scripts, one of the ways I realized I could save some cash was by making my margins as narrow as possible. Narrower margin settings = more text/page = less paper used = fewer $$ on my credit card at Office Depot."

Since then, however, Krinsky actually has turned into an environmental activist, spreading her message to help people save money and natural resources. She has even started a petition to encourage Microsoft to change the default margins in Word from 1.25" on each side to .75".

According to a study done by the Penn State Green Destiny Council, reducing margins to .75” on all sides uses 4.75 percent less paper.

I have to buy a lot of paper for my job, and I need all the help I can get! I already use both sides of printer paper before it goes into the recycling bin, which helps my pocketbook and the environment. But I had totally forgotten about Change the Margins, which I read about quite a while ago. It popped into my head today out of the blue (or perhaps out of the green). I've decided to go one better and shrink my margins to .5". My new mantra before I press "Command P" will be Change the margins. Change the margins. Change the margins.

Margin-changing is only a smidgen of the great content on Krinsky's blog.

Click here to hear Krinsky interviewed on NPR.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Possum shrimp

I stumbled across this image on wikipedia. This mysid is described as a shrimp-like creature in the critter tribe Mysidacea (I'm using my own little descriptor, as the taxonomy confused me). They are colloquially known as opossum shrimp because females have a brood pouch. Anyway, I wish I could say I had taken this photo.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

27 meteors

That's how many we counted last night (or rather early this morning) during the Perseid meteor shower, in spite of the light pollution. We started watching at 2 a.m. and came indoors about 4. That was the peak viewing time. It was so nice outside. Sweater weather. Brownies. No mosquitoes.

A Perseid meteor over Joshua Tree National Park in California, August 11, 2007. Credit: Joe Westerberg. NASA Web site. More Perseid photos here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

'Tis the season for tagging

A couple of years ago, we made a very crude (as in unsophisticated) video of me tagging and releasing a monarch butterfly. I was surprised to discover that it has been viewed 1,500 times on YouTube. Good grief! I'm including it here for your amusement. The audio is particularly bad, but you get the gist of the procedure. By the way, Monarch Watch is now filling orders for 2008 tags.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Clouds have a fan club

I noticed some cool cloud formations when I went out to water the beans this evening. Unfortunately, this is the best image I could get. In the process of googling to learn what type of clouds these are, I got pleasantly distracted by a Web site for the Cloud Appreciation Society. Their photo gallery is amazing. There are 4,000 photos and dozens of categories, such as Optical Effects, Lightning, Fallstreak Holes, Kelvin-Helmholtz Wave Clouds, and Clouds That Look Like Things. Being a rodent lover, I particularly enjoyed this one.


Mom and Dad's, this weekend. A smilax vine has trespassed through the screen (left of the petunias). They said they've been reluctant to bother it because it gives the lizards a place to hide from the cats.