About My Blog.

Welcome! This is "Catatonic Digressions."
Most, if not all readers don't understand my blog's title. It's an old inside joke from a forum long gone. I was going to change it, but since it's been "confusing" for so long, I decided to leave it. Don't worry about what it means, the content of the blog is what is important.

Unfortunately, my blog isn't what I set out for it to be. A disturbed and manic online stalker and cyberbully has made it impossible for me to post about family, my son, life in my part of New York...so I stopped (for the most part), and I mostly reblog and repost what I feel is important, necessary or close to my heart. As for the stalking sociopath, she can go to hell for harassing me and my family since mid-2008. You can't scare me offline with a few lame threats and dozens of pages of defamation, abuse, depravity and libel. I'm bitchy like that. ;)
(Anyone who knows me knows I'm not actually a bitch, but let's allow this psychopath to think I'm a bitch to her blackened heart's content—it seems to make her feel she has some sort of control over me…and it does not.)

If you read a story and you feel moved in any way, comment. Comments are more than welcome.

Unlike those online who lie and hide behind fake photos and insanely fabricated stories, I'm a real person. I'm real and I don't pretend to be someone I'm not. After years of putting up with online abuse by manipulative, pathological liars, attention whores or narcissists, I've had it. Don't bother me with pathetic drama. I have no time for these types of people and their need to absorb others' time and attention.

Feel free to email me if you have a story or cause you would like shared, especially if it pertains to animal rights, liberation, veganism, animal welfare, health and well-being, geekery, Macs and computer dorkiness, music, lowbrow art, kitchy stuff, skateboards, the beach, swimming, diving, NYC, beading (it's my hobby), recipes (love to cook, especially if I made the recipe up myself!), VEGAN!, ALF, Sea Shepherd, Action for Animals, NIO, 269Life and/or anything you think I might enjoy or others might—you never know. It doesn't always have to be serious. Hilarious stories, local NY, funny videos or photos, photobombs (especially if they contain pets!)...I might be partially censored, but I'm not closed down!

Please, join Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and follow them and The Barbi Twins on Twitter and Facebook.

For the Oceans,
Suzanne

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day 2009


Today was Earth Day.

Some Earth-friendly geek gadgets:


Bag
Noon Solar Bags
Here's a way to reduce electricity bills and maybe even look cool: Greenloop's Noon Solar bags (right). Composed of biodegradable materials, each bag contains a flexible solar panel on the outside, which connects to a lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack hidden in a pocket. The bags also include adapters for you to plug your iPod, USB-powered device or cellphone into the battery pack to keep your gadgets juiced while you bask in the sun. (GreenLoop, from $330 to $500)

What's Fresh iPhone App

While you're busy saving the planet, let's not forget to keep your body healthy, too. If you have an iPhone handy, an app called What's Fresh will tell you which fruits and vegetables are in season in your area. And if your produce of desire isn't in season in your city, the app will point you to the nearest location where it is. (Mobile Simplicity, $1)

Climate Change Solutions: What You can Do Right Now

Now it's your turn.

Here's our Top 10 list of actions for individuals, organizations and businesses to take as a first step in reducing your contribution to global warming. Send us an email with a pledge of the actions you can commit to right now and begin your journey to save the earth. The time to act is now.

Project Switch: Change your light bulbs!

There are now highly efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) that last for years, use a third of the energy of regular bulbs and actually produce more light. Look for the government's ENERGY STAR label, which means the bulb has been tested for quality and efficiency. While each ENERGY STAR qualified bulb can cost more initially - anywhere from $4 to $15 a piece - remember that there are two price tags: what you pay at the register and what you pay in energy costs over the bulb's lifetime. You may pay more up front, but you will actually save hundreds of dollars in your household budget over the long term because of their long life. Five ENERGY STAR light bulbs will save your household at least $150 over their lifetime.

Here's the impact. If every household in the U.S. replaced a burned-out bulb with an energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent bulb, the cumulative effect is enormous. It would prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that from nearly 800,000 cars. It would also save enough energy to light 2.5 million homes for a year.

There are other, simple things with household lighting you can do to conserve. Turn off unneeded lights, dim lights when you can and bring natural sunlight into your home when it is feasible.

But changing those old light bulbs and replacing them with ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescents that can last seven years or more is by far the best thing you can do.

Drive your car differently – or drive a different car altogether!

The sad truth is that a gas guzzler emits as much CO2 as some homes! That's the bad news. The good news is that anything you can do to improve the fuel efficiency of your car will have an impact. On average, a passenger car emits 11,400 pounds of CO2 each year while a home emits 9,000 pounds of CO2 per person each year in the United States.

Horribly inefficient SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks now make up more than half of the cars on American roads. The real tragedy is that automakers could double the current average fuel efficiency of SUVs if they wanted. Even improving fuel economy from 20 miles-per-gallon to 25 miles-per-gallon would prevent 10 tons of CO2 from being released over a vehicle's lifetime.

Buying a fuel-efficient car (like a Hybrid) is wonderful. In fact, replacing your gas-guzzling car with a fuel-efficient one is by far the best thing you can do, out of all your choices. But not all of us can do that - at least, not right now. So, in the interim, there are things you can do with the car you drive now to conserve energy and be more fuel-efficient.

Drive less. Every year, Americans as a whole drive more miles than they did the year before. Stop this trend. Telecommuting and public transportation are great options. Leaving your car at home two days a week will reduce your CO2 emissions by 1,590 pounds a year. Even piling multiple errands into one trip helps and if you can walk instead of drive, even better.

Get your car tuned up. Just a simple tune-up often improves fuel efficiency. Studies have shown that a poorly tuned engine can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10-20 percent.

Slow down, don't race your car's engine, and watch your idling. All of these save on gas (saving you money) and have a big impact on burning gasoline. You can save gas by turning the engine off and restarting it again if you expect to idle for more than 30 seconds.

Your house – not too hot, not too cold!

The bad news is that about 42 percent of your household energy costs go toward just two things - heating and cooling. The good news is that means you have a lot of room to make a difference and even small changes can make dramatic improvements in household fuel efficiency.

Replacing older heating and cooling systems with new efficient models can cut your annual energy costs by 20 percent. So replacing the old with the new is a wonderful idea, but not very practical for most of us. Things you can do right now to make sure you're maintaining the right temperature in your house efficiently include:

Tune up your heating system. By keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted, you can save up to 5 percent in heating costs.

Clean vents, close unused vents, and change filters in the vents. Again, just these simple things will save you up to 5 percent in costs.

Buy a programmable thermostat, which can regulate different temperatures at different times of the day. And if you have one, use it! These thermostats reduce energy use by 5-30 percent and save you $100-$150 in energy costs each year.

If one in 10 households serviced heating and cooling systems annually, cleaned or replaced filters regularly, used a programmable thermostat and replaced old equipment with ENERGY STAR models it would prevent the emissions of more than 17 billion pounds of greenhouse gases.

Add two degrees to the AC thermostat in summer, and two degrees in winter. If everyone did this, the cumulative impact is significant.

Make sure windows and doors are sealed. Again, this will dramatically improve your household fuel efficiency. Sealing air leaks and adding insulation can reduce your annual energy bill by 10 percent.

Of course, if you can stand it, by far the best approach is to avoid using air conditioners. Ceiling fans use 80 percent less energy than central air conditioners. By only using ceiling fans you can reduce your annual cooling costs by 10-65 percent. In warm weather run the fan blades in a counter-clockwise direction to feel 5 degrees cooler. During the winter set the fan blades to rotate clockwise at a low speed to force warm air from the ceiling down into the living space.

Tame the refrigerator monster!

Did you know that your friendly refrigerator has a voracious energy appetite? It is the biggest consumer of electricity among household appliances and responsible for 10-15 percent of the electricity you use each year.

Older refrigerators, as a rule, are far less efficient than the newest ones - as much as 50 percent less efficient. But buying a brand-new, energy-efficient refrigerator is not always in the cards for most of us. Fortunately, other things will help.

Don't set the thermostat too high. Lowering the temperature even 1 degree will make a big difference.

If your refrigerator is near a heating vent, or always in the sun, then change the location, cover up the heating vent near it or cover the window.

Turn on your "energy saver" switch near the thermostat.

Clean the condenser coil. This one, very simple thing can improve the efficiency of your refrigerator reducing your annual energy costs by $20.

Get rid of your second refrigerator. If you don't need it, don't waste the energy.

Make sure the doors seal properly, and keep the cool in.

Twist the knobs on your other household appliances!

The other big users of energy in your household are your hot water heater, your washer and dryer, and your dishwasher. Each, in its own way, can be inefficient. Here are some things to try:

Either turn the hot water heater down to 120 degrees, or turn on the "energy conservation" setting. Some manufacturers set water heater thermostats at 140 degrees when most households only require them at 120 or 115 degrees. For each 10 degrees reduction in water temperature, you can save 3-5 percent in energy costs.

Buy insulation at a local store and insulate your hot water heater and pipes.

Install a timer on your water heater to turn off at night and on just before you wake up in the morning.

When possible, wash a few dishes by hand. Over time, that will save a few loads in the dishwasher, conserving energy.

Don't pre-rinse dishes. Today's detergents are powerful enough to do the job.

Wait until you have a full load to run the dishwasher.

Wash clothes in warm water, not hot. Ninety percent of the energy used in operating a washing machine goes toward heating the water that washes and rinses the clothes. The clothes will be just as clean, and you'll cut energy use.

Don't over-dry your clothes.

Green plants with less water, more trees to provide shade.

While it is true that planting more trees will help in the short term because they essentially soak up carbon, they also release carbon dioxide when they die. So it just postpones the problem. But there are other reasons to plant trees - as wind breaks to save energy, and as shade to lower cooling costs. And even the short-term help while we get our act together is a good thing.

As for plants, do everything you can in your yard and garden to create ways in which plants use less water. Choose hardier plants, plant things in groups that need more water and put in mulch to help keep moisture in. When you mow your grass, make sure you do it smartly - with sharp blades, and only when the grass needs cutting. Finally, make sure you water your lawn sparingly. All of these will conserve energy.

Buy Green Energy, and invest in green energy stocks.

Imagine if we ran out of fossil fuels tomorrow, what would we do? Well, we'd get our electricity from renewable energy, such as solar panels, geothermal and wind power sources. Many utilities now give consumers the option to buy "green power." Ask for it!

Learn the truth about nuclear power and natural gas as viable "green" options. They aren't. Radioactive waste will be a problem for tens of thousands of years into the future. Even though natural gas emits half as much CO2 as coal, it is still responsible for 20 percent of CO2 emissions in the United States while only providing us with around 23 percent of the energy consumed. Natural gas can help us make a transition, but it isn't the solution.

Finally, invest in green stocks and renewable energy companies through socially responsible funds. They perform just as well (if not better) than all of the unfiltered funds.

Go organic.

Even with our vast reservoir of scientific knowledge about farming, most American farmers still spray a billion pounds of pesticides to protect crops each year.

Now here's the kicker: when chemical pesticides are used to kill pests, they can also kill microorganisms that keep carbon contained in the soil. When the microorganisms are gone, the carbon is released into the atmosphere as CO2. And when those organisms are gone, the soil is no longer naturally fertile and chemical fertilizers become a necessity, not a luxury.

But besides going organic - thereby saving the carbon release from soil - there are other simple things you can do with food that will also make a difference:

Eat locally grown food. If the food doesn't have to travel far, there's less CO2 from the trucks that ship it.

Eat fruits and vegetables in season. Again, that saves the enormous transportation costs.

Plant your own vegetable garden. It's not as hard as you might think.

Buy recycled.

This may sound simple, but it takes less energy to manufacture a recycled product than a brand new one. So if you and every other consumer buy recycled products, you'll help create a market, and conserve energy along the way.

Because many manufacturers don't go out of their way to tout their recycled products, you should know that aluminum and tin cans, glass containers, and pulp cardboard have a fair amount of recycled content. So buy away!

Recycled products can often be considerably cheaper than non-recycled products. Most recycled paper products are of comparable quality and cost competitive with virgin paper products.

Finally, before you buy, check to see if the product or its packaging can be recycled. The recyclable logo (three arrows forming a triangle) is fairly common now.

Be a minimalist.

We know it's difficult, but in today's consumer economy, an easy way to conserve energy is to simply use - and buy -- less. Every time you buy something, energy has gone into getting that product to you. So the less you buy, the more you save energy-wise. It's a simple equation.

This last item on our Top Ten list may, in fact, be the single biggest way to make a dent in the global warming problem. Again, we know it sounds obvious, but buying less things - some of which you just don't need - changes the energy equation across the board, on every single consumer product. If everyone used less, the impact would be large indeed.

So how about some specific things? Here are a few:

Buy in bulk. In short, bulk items use less packaging, which translates into less energy.

Buy one of something, not 21 of something. You don't need 21 pairs of shoes, if one pair works just as well.

Go through your closet. Donate or recycle what you really don't need, then make a pledge not to replace everything you just got rid of.

Buy quality products that will last longer. Over time, you'll obviously buy fewer products that way.

Be creative in what you use for work, play and leisure. You don't always have to buy new products for activities. Re-use in creative ways.

Well, that's it - Earth Day Network's Top 10. As we said at the start, if just a third of us in the United States follow through on most of what's on this list, we can all collectively make a difference - and keep greenhouse gas emissions where they might otherwise be if the U.S. government stepped in and imposed mandatory CO2 caps and fuel-efficiency standards.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Rogers,

President, Earth Day Network


Reposted from http://earthday.net/


NOAA Earth Day

http://www.noaa.gov/earthday/

Earth Day, April 22.

NOAA's Environmental Heroes  

Preserving the Planet in Many Ways


April 22, 2008  —  A harbormaster who keeps close watch on fish populations during annual dredging operations, a school teacher who organizes science fairs in his free time, and an engineer who developed an online virtual community to support NOAA’s Citizen Weather Observer Program. These are just a few of the 2008 NOAA Environmental Heroes award recipients.

One of the many ways NOAA celebrates Earth Day is by recognizing private individuals and organizations that volunteer their time to help NOAA carry out its mission. “There are thousands of volunteers who give their time to help NOAA do its work, and the NOAA Environmental Hero Award is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to some individuals and organizations each year,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Each year, I am impressed by the efforts of the Environmental Heroes, who serve as inspirations to us all. On behalf of the men and woman working for NOAA, I congratulate the 2008 winners.”

Since 1995, NOAA has recognized more than a hundred individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions to NOAA. In 2007, a Long-Time Achievement Award also was established to periodically honor long-time NOAA-related achievement.

Long-Time Achievement Award

Robert Simpson, Washington, DC 

Robert Simpson.Simpson is being honored with NOAA’s Long-Time Achievement Award this year for his longtime commitment to NOAA's mission. In 1948, Simpson founded a small weather observatory on top of Mauna Loa Volcano, Hawaii, that evolved into the world famous Mauna Loa Observatory. This station is an integral part of NOAA’s Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). It also housed the original Keeling carbon dioxide measuring instruments, which proved that the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide levels were rising. A decade later, Simpson conducted ground-breaking hurricane research, and in 1967 was appointed the first director of NOAA's National Hurricane Center’s (Miami, Fla.).  Simpson is also co-developer of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale used to rank hurricane intensity. Simpson continued active research and administration for many years and now lives in retirement with his wife Joanne at the age of 95. [more]

NOAA's 2008 Environmental Heroes

Beth Anderson, Wendover, Utah.Beth Anderson, Wendover, Utah

Continuing work begun by her father in 1993, Anderson has collected more than 600 air samples at her remote western Ranch in Callao, Utah, over the last 13 years. Her efforts have assisted NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory’s Global Monitoring Division produce a 15-year time series of carbon dioxide, methane, and other trace gas measurements at this location. The data are used by scientists to study the carbon cycle and global climate change. Anderson is a fifth generation rancher at her family's historic Bagley ranch, where she helps run one of the last privately owned historic Pony Express Stations. [more]

Tom Barry, South Ponte Verda Beach, Fla.Tom Barry, South Ponte Verda Beach, Fla.

A retired Navy Officer, Barry has volunteered more than 1,200 hours atNOAA's Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve's education center in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., since April 2005. By supporting NOAA’s research, outreach/education, and stewardship efforts, Barry has helped NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve System protect more than one million acres of estuarine land and water. Estuaries provide essential habitat for wildlife; offer educational opportunities for students, teachers and the public; and serve as living laboratories for scientists. [more]

Bob Buck & Jim Somers, Coupeville, Wash.Bob Buck & Jim Somers, Coupeville, Wash.

Buck and Somers have sampled the pocket estuaries in the Whidbey Basin of Washington State's Puget Sound since 2002. Their efforts have helped NOAA understand fish ecology in large ecosystems and how best to protect and restore these valuable resources. Buck and Somers are active members of the Washington State University/Island County beach Watchers, retirees, and long-time Whidbey Island residents. [more]

Bill Dewey, Shelton, Wash.Bill Dewey, Shelton, Wash.

Dewey has volunteered thousands of hours over the last 20 years to help develop and implement public policy for water quality protection and marine resource issues. His efforts support NOAA and have reinforced the important contribution aquaculture makes to our nation’s seafood supply, the restoration of important marine species, and protecting our nation’s water quality. Over the last 27 years, Dewey has owned and operated his own clam farm in Samish Bay, Wash. He now manages public affairs for the Taylor Shellfish Company in Shelton, Wash. [more]

Philip Gladstone, Carlisle, Mass.Philip Gladstone, Carlisle, Mass.

Gladstone created an online virtual community (i.e., suite of tools and feedback resources) forNOAA’s Citizen Weather Observer Program, which enabled 5,000 volunteer weather observers to more easily contribute high quality automated weather reports to NOAA in near real time. CWOP observations are used in NOAA's National Weather Serviceoperations to improve winter storm warnings, fire weather warnings, flash flood warnings, and land-falling hurricane warnings in addition to public weather forecasts. Gladstone is a engineer currently working on computer security at Cisco Systems in Boxboro, Mass. [more]

Daniel Gropper, Vienna, Va.Daniel Gropper, Vienna, Va.

For 20 years, Gropper has assistedNOAA’s National Weather Service in meeting it’s most vital mission — protecting lives and property. He has lent his engineering, legal, and bureaucratic expertise over countless volunteer hours to support NOAA's National Weather Service with warning broadcasts andSkywarn, a volunteer weather spotter program. He even developed a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards receiver that is used in many schools, public buildings, and government agencies. Gropper is a ham radio operator, engineer, patent attorney, and an inventor with a passion for the weather and public service. [more]

release_king.htmlSteven King, Teacher,Washing-
ton, DC

King is a dedicated and devoted elementary school teacher in Washington, D.C. He is a strong supporter of NOAA-related science education. For the past five years, King led the James D. Martin (formerly the Shepherd Elementary School) Science Fair in Silver Spring, Md. King's efforts support NOAA’s education programs and activities, as well as the agency's cross-cutting priority of promoting environmental literacy. [more]

David A. Robinson, Piscataway, N.J.David A. Robinson, Piscataway, N.J.

Robinson is a scientific leader and visionary supporting NOAA’s national climate services and its contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is a passionate supporter of NOAA’s efforts to engage climate science and bring communities together to help the nation understand and adapt to climate change. Robinson is the chairman of the Department of Geography at Rutgers University and a State Climatologist in Piscataway, New Jersey. [more]

Brian Swedberg, Petaluma, Calif. Brian Swedberg, Petaluma, Calif.

Over the past few years, Swedberg has monitored fish populations during the annual hydraulic dredging of the Port Sonoma Marina in Petaluma, Calif. His efforts have helped NOAA in addressing the potential effects of dredging activities on salmon. As harbormaster of this marina, Swedberg has consistently demonstrated an eagerness to try new approaches to protect living marine resources in association with marina operations and maintenance. [more]

Richard Zingula, Houston, TexasRichard Zingula, Houston, Texas

Zingula has dedicated 40-plus years of advocacy, exploration, and volunteering for NOAA’s Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico. A leader in the Houston Underwater Club, Zingula led the charge to have the Flower Garden Banks designated as a National Marine Sanctuary. He also is a favorite of participants in the Sanctuary'sDown Under, Out Yonder and other professional development workshops for educators. Now retired, Zingula served as a geologist /paleontologist wih an Oil Company in Houston, Texas. [more]

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