Monthly Archives: April 2010

Appholes: “Steve – don’t go Howard Hughes on us!”

Jon at his rantastic best!! Steve Jobs better be paying attention now…

And for those of you who aren’t following the tech news and may still be scratching your heads as to what all that was about, you can make up your own version of the unfolding saga, using this handy Choose Your Own Adventure guide!

How rational economic models drove the economy off the cliff – rationally!

I only caught the tail end of this excellent documentary on PBS’ Nova last night – so I caught up with it online and have to share here. It provides some insight into the irrational faith of economists (even Nobel prize winning smart ones) in the rationality of the “free market”, and how they helped push the US (and global) economy to collapse by ignoring the inherent irrationality of systems involving humans!

Snow cones and slurpees in Yosemite! But do we need more winter tourists too?

Another cool video in the Yosemite Nature Notes series, highlighting an interesting wintertime phenomenon. As the rangers note in the video, not many people know about this interesting business of – and perhaps this video will encourage more people to go check it out, especially in cold wet springs like this one. While I laud (and share) the rangers’ and this film’s creator’s desire to share more of these natural wonders with people – and they sure do want me to go check these things out – I am also conflicted about whether more tourists is what Yosemite needs! Winter is perhaps one time of year when this most heavily visited of parks gets a chance to catch a breath and recover a bit from the summer crush of touring humanity! Do we want to reduce that period of rest too? But, if we don’t share these natural wonders with the people, will the people support protecting fragile places where frazil ice can still form such beautiful icy lava flows? Therein lie both the genius and the dilemma of National Parks, don’t they?

Hat-tip: YosemiteSteve

Earth Day Celebration at Fresno State

Earth Day Celebration April 22

Earth Day Celebration April 22

Event Date:

April 22nd

Earth Day Celebration April 22

40th Anniversary
Fresno State Earth Day 2010 Celebration
April 22, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sustainability Fair and Panel Discussions

Sustainability Fair: Fresno State Peace Garden
What: Exhibits with information, resources, demonstrations related to sustainability and green living
Where: Fresno State’s Peace Garden adjacent to Henry Madden Library
When: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Panel Discussions: Madden Library Auditorium #2206
What: discussion, debates, Q&A about important sustainability topics to our region and planet

11 a.m. – 12 noon   
Jesse Morrow Mountain: Which Priorities Should Prevail?
Moderator: Peter McDonald Dean, Henry Madden Library.
Panelists: Audrey Osborne, Traditional Choinumni Tribal Council, and Robert Takacs, Friends of Jesse Morrow Mine.

12-1 p.m.     
Urban Planning & Transportation: Managing Change
Moderator: Andrew Jones Fresno State Sociology Dept & Sustainability Subcommittee.
Panelists: Kristine Cai, Fresno COG; Derya Ozgoc-Caglar, Fresno State Geography Dept.; Eric Fredericks, California High Speed Rail Authority; John Dugan, Director of Planning and Development Department, City of Fresno; and Rollie Smith, Sustainable Communities, Housing and Urban Development.

1-2 p.m. 
Climate Change: Mitigation & Adaptation for Fresno
Moderator: Peter Van de Water Fresno State Earth & Environmental Science Dept.
Panelists: Donald Hunsaker, Director Fresno State Institute of Climate, Change Oceans, & Atmosphere; Tom Cotter, Co-founder Fresno Green; Joseph Oldham, City of Fresno Sustainability Manager.

2-3 p.m. 
Water – The Lifeblood of the Community
Moderator: Lanny Larson, Fresno State University Communications
Panelists:Nora Laikam, City of Fresno Water Conservation Supervisor, and Calliope Correia, Fresno State Horticulture Nursery Technician.

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Yes, Fresno State is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day with its second Sustainability Fair! As you can see above, panel discussions will hit several hot-button environmental issues both local and global in scope. There will also be several exhibits/tables (download a flyer for more information) where campus and off campus groups will share information relevant to local and global environmental issues – and I’ll be there sharing info about the Fresno Bird Count and Fresno Audubon. So come by if you are on campus around the middle of the day tomorrow. We’ll be at the Peace Garden – unless the wet weather continues, in which case the fair moves indoors to within the library.

(And don’t ask why none of the panels mention a certain urban ecologist on this campus who happens to be studying urban water use…)

Fresno’s 20 Gallon Water Challenge


Have you, fellow residents of Fresno, noticed a billboard in your neighborhood recently asking you to take the 20 Gallon Challenge at It is good to see the City of Fresno make a push towards water conservation – and about time too in an arid zone city that has resisted even metering residential water use! I know my friends in Tucson, or back in India, will be astonished that a city campaign challenging residents to reduce water consumption by 20 gallons/day is only now happening – how can it be, in the arid American west, that the people of a major city refuse to meter their water use and need to be challenged to save water in such quantities per day as are inconceivable even over weeks in other arid parts of the world??!! Yet, such has been the case here – with the residents of Fresno having rejected water metering several times in the past! No more – for now the city is, under a federal govt mandate, installing water meters in homes and preparing to start charging for water based on consumption starting in 2013. As you may know, my lab has begun to address the ecological and biodiversity consequences of how much (and how) we use water in this sprawling sub/urban area. As part of a broad collaborative multidisciplinary project focusing on understanding the linkages between human water and land use decisions and urban biodiversity, my graduate student Brad Schleder has just finished his masters thesis – the first one to leverage data from the Fresno Bird Count which he helped set up and coordinate in its first two years. He will be presenting his work in a thesis exit seminar on campus in a couple of weeks – on May 3rd. Watch out for an announcement with further details here shortly, and join us if you can on the 3rd. Meanwhile, go take the 20 Gallon Challenge this Earth Week!

Robert Full: Learning from the gecko’s tail

And that is but a taste of what we will get this afternoon in our department colloquium here at Fresno State, for Dr. Full is on campus and will be speaking shortly. I will try to record audio for potential podcast.

Here’s the flyer for the event: