What do these have in common? Well, nothing I can speak about intelligently, but I’ve been confined to my car quite a bit these past two weeks listening to the radio. Sure, I’ve listened to a few innings of Twins games, but most of the time the usual; the Minnesota-centric staple of the tea-drinking, dog-walking, Volvo-driving, liberal-talking, weather-obsessed, Prairie Home Companion-loving, responsible-without-being-inflammatory crowd; our beloved MPR.
A few items caught my ear.
Got a Hennepin County library card? Check out (in both senses of the word) a Power Energy Meter . Plug in any appliance you own and you can monitor voltage, electricity cost, and power consumption. Have you ever wondered if your KitchenAid actually meets the standards on that yellow EnergyGuide sticker you threw out?
Dr. Mark Seeley, who has the most comforting voice of any climatologist I’ve ever met, wakes me up every Friday morning with a collection of weather data and facts. Today on air and on the Minnesota WeatherTalk Newsletter, he noted the annual Kuehnast Lecture coming up on October 15th. Dr. Dennis Baldocchi will speak on “Breathing of the Biosphere: How Physics Sets the Limits and Biology Does the Work”. Exactly. Dr. Baldocchi teaches at U. C. Berkeley, my alma mater, and that of Dr. Seeley as well. Seeing as we beat the Gophers a couple weeks back in the new stadium, it’s looking like there might be a Cal tsunami sweeping the North Star State….
…including an invasion of solar collectors. Not just for the deserts of Nevada and California any more, or at least not in the minds of the Brothers at St. John’s who are installing the largest solar farm in the upper Midwest. I’m skeptical this type of electricity generation makes sense here, given the land required and our climate (short days in winter, cloud coverage, and, oh yeah, plenty of wind), but St. John’s leadership has a history of making bold statements with results. (see: Marcel Breuer’s Abbey, Richard Breshanen’s pottery, VJAA’s recent buildings)
Onto the consumer goods front.
We just ran out of office paper. Calling XpedX, I was surprised to learn a ream of medium weight office paper with 30% post-consumer recycled content was going to run $180. Cheapo, clear-cut forest paper sure to endanger a handful of species, on the other hand, was about forty bucks. Desperate, we cleared out some old client files, and threw used paper in the tray, printing on the blank side. To the internet. In minutes, we found Eureka! Recycling right here in NE Minneapolis runs a paper Co-op. 100% post consumer recycled white paper for $41 a ream! See you later XpedX! Fall deadline to order is October 15th. Order now! Your goods won’t come until December, so clear out those file cabinets.
And finally, some politics.
Saw this week’s City Pages cover story featured the darling-of-all-architects-and-developers, Minneapolis Council Member Lisa Goodman. Some exquisite quotations in that article. Also read our lovely downtown pillow is going to be sponsored by Minnesota’s shopping mecca, Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. This lead me to wonder if the new planted roof at the Target Center – should we thank or harass Lisa for that? – might fuel a new round of naming. My vote is Roundup Roof at Target Center.