Summer in the meadow

Summer in the meadow
Beaver Creek, Idaho, USA

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My friend and colleague...

The author, Geoff, Chuck Idea and Hess in Praha, CZ, July 2010.

...Geoff Diederich just had one of his first papers published in Nano Letters! I am a bit in the dark as to what his research is on (pun intended), but I do know that Geoff is a smart, smart young man. Last summer when Geoff and I were on tour with Right Idea, he was reading up on the history of Calculus and applied motion physics (or something crazy like that)--for fun. He played a mean guitar that tour and started grad school at Bowling Green the following fall. Go get 'em Geo!

I have no idea what the above figure means, but you can email the lead author about it.

What physics is all about.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

This Tuesday in cycling...

After another 3-day field excursion to North Cascades National Park--and the requisite 2-4 hour drive, pending I-5 traffic--I returned to Seattle ready to write, ready to analyze data and ready to ride my bike. Yep, that's right, research makes me want to ride my bike. Let me break down why.

As a Seattle resident of nearly 6 years, I have a really hard time getting into the Subaru that my partner and I share, unless I'm going into the mountains or a field site where transit doesn't go. We grinded up I-5 on Friday and then back down on Sunday to and fro SR-20 (still not open at WA Pass due to incredible snowpack!). It took nearly a full tank of gas, and 6 plus hours in drive-time. I had great company, tunes and conversation, but the unfailing gridlock of I-5 was enough to make me mull over the environmental and economic sustainability of the average Snohomish or Skagit County to Seattle commute by car.

Apparently, I'm not the only one with these things on my mind. As we began that commute to lovely Newhalem, Washington, The Urban Country was writing up a review on the exact same things. Not surprisingly TUC finds that as Americans, we're driving a lot, often in short distances and at great financial, environmental, mental and physical costs. Something has to give, and it probably won't be gas prices. More, friendlier, cleaner, and faster transit, paired with more safe and thorough bike trails are a starting point that municipalities small and large are recognizing as solutions.

Seattle and King County have the right idea--I've been able to bike commute for years and lived two years in Seattle without a car painlessly. However, it will take the entire I-5 corridor thinking wisely about how to pair transit and bikes to provide point-to-point service from say, Mt. Vernon to Seattle or Lacey to Sea-Tac. Bike infrastructure has to meet buses, trains and the requisite park-and-ride lots for van pools that flow east and north to regional employers like Boeing and Microsoft.

It will take efforts not unlike those of Boulder, CO (but a statewide scale):

While it's not restoration ecology research, energy, commuting and sustainability are the collective endangered Indian elephant in the room of anybody who doesn't work from home.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I don't speak much Spanish...

...but if I did, I might read this.

Good looking out hermano!

"E" is for Energy (and for Externality)...

Cartoon by Jeff Stahler of the Columbus Dispatch and linked from

Last week Michael Graetz wrote an opinion piece for Yale's environmental news blog,, "Energy Déjà Vu: Obama Must Break With Failed U.S. Policies."

As a restoration ecologist, I spend plenty of time mulling over the externalities of the current U.S. energy paradigm, namely the spoiled sites left after extraction. Graetz dwells on the more subtle externalities (read: CLIMATE CHANGE), and finds a policy mechanism to help America fully reconsider the energy situation from the public up. Most people won't like it in the short-term because the cost burden is shifted:

"Reflecting the true costs of energy would require taxing energy consumption rather than subsidizing production."


Read the whole darn thing here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Society of Wetland Scientists Northwest has a podcast!

Yes, that's right, the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Society of Wetland Scientists has upped the collective bar and now sponsors a (semi-annual?) podcast! Thus far the discography is as follows:

2/9/2011: The National Wetland Plant Update

11/16/2010: Soil and Wetland Scientist Certification Bill

4/1/2010: Wetland Mitigation Banking in Washington State

Thanks to Shannon and Wilson, Inc. for sponsoring this podcast.