Did you know that store receipts made from thermal paper aren’t recyclable? They are apparently coated with bisphenol A (BPA) or bisphenol S (BPS), the same toxic additives that caused health alerts for reusable plastic water bottles. I want to do the right thing by recycling all the paper that I’m done using, but I’ve been unknowingly contaminating my recycling bin.
A story from Scotts Miracle-Gro illustrates the importance of transparency in communicating with customers, the challenge of distinguishing between perception and reality, and the difficulty that accompanies merely defending the science behind the story. It involves toxic algal blooms, a problem for which Scotts was unfairly blamed.
I kept a page from my local city newsletter that says, "Worldwide, it takes 2.5 billion acres of land just to grow the food we waste." Posting the page on my fridge helps remind me to do my part in avoiding food waste. I submitted two ideas that I've implemented in my own kitchen to the Quick Tips section of Cook's Illustrated Magazine. Months later, I received an email from the magazine saying one of them would be published in the September/October 2017 issue.
On my trip to Vancouver, BC earlier this summer, I made a point to notice materials. While browsing the gift shop at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, a collection of earrings caught my eye. Although I own plenty of earrings – at least 25 pairs – I decided I had to buy these. They advertise being made from lead-free pewter and handcrafted in Canada, and the hummingbird is supposedly a symbol of good fortune. How could I not buy them?
Last weekend I completed a triathlon, my fourth to date. When people hear the word "triathlon" many automatically think of the Ironman, a competition consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile (marathon) run. My event was much more modest: 0.75-mile swim, 22.5-mile bike ride, and 4-mile run. This is slightly shorter than an Olympic triathlon (1.5-km swim, 40-km bike, 10-km run) but longer than most sprint distance events. How is the triathlon related to the title of this blog post? Keep reading to find out.
Peter Holgate conveys an air of confidence without seeming arrogant. His desire to achieve something “consequential” with his third startup drove him to found Ronin8, a company whose mission revolves around changing the world by changing e-waste processing. I met with Peter in his Vancouver, BC office recently to interview him for the book I’m writing on sustainable materials management.
I read a blog post recently that started with an analogy to laying tiles, something most people can grasp, but then shifted to engineering jargon. This strikes me as a perfect example of the challenge of understanding your audience. Are you writing for engineers who are experts in your field, or for executives who care very little about the technical details and just want to know how the new technology will save time or money?
What began as a simple conversation about book publishing in February led to me being glued to my cell phone the past few days, listening to as much of the Nonfiction Writers Conference as possible live while rushing to and from meetings.
The conference had me fluctuating between feeling inspired and feeling overwhelmed, but inspiration won out.
The Unnatural World by David Biello caught my attention. It was part of a featured selections display in the library, where the images of leaves on the cover and the title drew me in. Biello’s message – that we are living in the Anthropocene Era, in which humans control the planet’s environment and which may date to as long ago as the beginnings of agriculture – asserts itself throughout the book
What do electric buses, wood veneer, circadian lighting, and insects on airplanes have in common? All these topics, and many more, came up at the GoGreen Conference in Seattle on March 16. Some of the people I met at the conference asked if I was going to publish a write-up. I will satisfy people’s curiosity and share some nuggets that I learned.
A friend of mine told me recently, “Writing a book is like making a jigsaw puzzle. It’s hard to get started, and it comes together slowly at first, but it is faster toward the end.” He had it somewhat right, but not exactly. As a writer who also enjoys jigsaw puzzles, I had to take it further. The analogy works in a much deeper way than my friend had considered.
Yesterday, February 2, was Groundhog Day. Apparently, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. It certainly looks and feels like winter here in the Seattle area. In Pennsylvania, however, where he lives, Phil’s prediction may not come true.
It is astounding that decades after we removed lead from gasoline and paint, there is still lead in the water supplies of many cities around the world. Lead pipes older than today’s senior citizens still supply water to millions of people. In the U.S., the problem extends far beyond Flint, Michigan. Water systems in all 50 states have shown excessive levels of lead.
While visiting the Fabrisonic booth at the IDTechEx Show recently, I was compelled to ask whether a process that welds thin metal foils together should really be called 3D printing. The question is, what defines 3D printing? It's a buzzword that gets attention and sounds a lot more exciting than "additive manufacturing," but it can mean many different types of processes.