Two for the Good

January 30, 2008 § Leave a comment

In a classic example of life’s unfairness, author Patry Francis’ well-received first novel Liar’s Diary was published in February 2007, just a few months before she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that has left her too weak to promote its new paperback edition.

But I can help, and you can, too. Buy Liar’s Diary here, and read Francis’ hopeful, thoughtful blog here.

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And locally, Sunday night, after a “typical teenage” fight with her mother, Karissa Boudreau, a 12-year-old sixth grader from the Bridgewater, NS area disappeared from a mall parking lot and hasn’t been seen since. At the time of her disappearance, she was wearing a black hoodie and vest, jeans, and pink Crocs. Police don’t suspect an abduction, but they say it’s quite unusual for a runaway this age to be missing for so long. Karissa’s family moved recently and her mother said she has no close friends in the area.

If you’re local, maybe look a little more closely at the girls walking alone beside the road.

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Iceland’s Hydrogen Economy

January 24, 2008 § 4 Comments

(subtitle: I Watched The Iceland Episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and Decided It Was My Least-favorite Nordic Country, But I Might Have Been Too Hasty)

Every day while looking for clean transportation stories to put in the newsletter (new job, long story), I come across stories that don’t quite fit the mandate— they don’t have any money attached, or the owner would consider them filler— but they’re still very cool stories that I think would capture lots of interest if they were better publicized.

Then I remembered I have a blog.

Hi!

Iceland is testing the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell-powered commercial fishing vessel. The ship is also equipped with a standard diesel engine, and is used primarily as a whale-watching ship. Hydrogen is a perfect choice for a whale-watching vessel, as its owner, Vignir Sigursveinsson, pointed out: “When we have the hydrogen machine, the boat will be completely soundless, which will make the experience of seeing the whales in their natural habitat even more magical.”

I didn’t know this about Iceland, but they’ve been weaning themselves off foreign oil for almost fifty years, in part because they have no petroleum and the small population and isolation drives up the prices so much. Also, a small population doesn’t lend itself to public transportation, so nearly everyone there drives, and most families have two cars.

But Icelanders are moving as fast as they can to correct the problem. They increase orders for fuel cell cars every year, and opened their first hydrogen station in 2003— nine months ahead of California. They say just 15 hydrogen stations should be enough for the whole country. If this fuel cell engine on the fishing boat works out, they’ll switch their whole fishing fleet to hydrogen fuel cells within two years.

And since all of Iceland electricity is provided by their own natural gas reserves and wind power, they’ll be the first nation to go completely carbon-free. Then they’ll just have to wait for the rest of us.

Six

January 24, 2008 § 4 Comments

I’ve had a post about depression in teenage girls half-written for a few weeks, but those jollies will have to wait because Colleen has tagged me! I’m IT!

Six random fact about me:

1) I’ve ridden two elephants. I can’t remember the circumstances of the first time (something to do with the circus), but the second time, someone was holding an elephant exhibition in a strip mall parking lot in my hometown. They’re more bristly than you think.

2) I read the obituaries in several newspapers every day, and collect interesting names therein. Birth announcements, too.

3) I also collect marbles.

4) When I was born, exactly two weeks past the due date, I got stuck in the birth canal, and no amount of pushing could budge me. So my mother’s obstetrician— the famed Christiane Northrup herself— pulled me out with forceps, blacking my eye and breaking both my collarbones. I haven’t broken a bone since.

5) I notice misspellings, grammatical and punctuation errors everywhere; on advertisements, signs, newspapers and magazines, press releases— I just can’t escape them. Fortunately, I am able to mostly ignore errors in electronic media, and never read my own blog, so that explains away my own errata. To my shame, I have been known to correct errors on Richard’s blog. Sorry, honey.

6) I have a bad habit of romanticizing the unromantic— the latest, coolest craze (inside my head) is hoboes! Fed by recently reading Housekeeping, this article on hobo nickels, and folding neatly into my great affections for railways, Burl Ives, Snufkin, Carnavále, and my love-hate of the harmonica. Happily, I am under no illusion that I could ever make a go of it as a hobo— sure I might love riding the rails, seeing new people, watching the slow smoothing and wrinkling of the landscape, but strong, earthy smells torment me, and I’ve never been much for relieving myself outside. Once, at Girl Scout Camp, I didn’t pee for close to thirty-six hours, though there was a decent outhouse readily available (in which I had spotted a large blue-green beetle). They called my mom to take me home early.

Okay, so the rules for this meme are:

– Link to the person that tagged you
– Post the rules on your blog
– Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
– Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs
– Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website

but instead of tagging six random people (rulebreaker!), I’m inviting anyone who’d like to play to leave their 6 in the comments. Anyone? Anyone?

Anyone?

Where Am I?

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