October 23, 2013

Toledo's Chronic Urban Flooding

One of the projects I have been working on as a Digital Coast Fellow is researching and writing up this mini-case study about Toledo's chronic flooding issues for the Great Lakes Planning Guide.  Two thoughts about this process:
1.  It's really hard to distill such a rich story into just a couple paragraphs!!  Research took quite a while, and locating appropriate images that really do help tell the story (with attendant sources and permissions) was a bear of a project in and of itself.
2.  Although this is a local story, as part of the Planning Guide, it reminds me that individual stories like this are a part of the whole.  Climate change causes more frequent and heavier rainfall in many places, and stories like Toledo's help bring peoples' attention to the importance of mitigating climate change itself by decreasing our individual engagement in carbon-emitting practices, as well as proactive planning and management of infrastructure.  I am proud that this is a piece of the repertoire of work that I do.

Naval Observatory Digital Coast presentation and tour

My favorite part of going to present at the Naval Observatory was all the really cool old telescopes and rare books I got to see during the tour we had after my presentation.  They were edited out of the blog post that I wrote for work, but I'll share them here for you because they're awesome.  But, yeah, I got to present Digital Coast to a bunch of Dept of Defense folks.  Yippee!
An original edition of Copernicus’ book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium from 1543, in which he describes that Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around

The observatory’s 26-inch diameter refracting telescope from 1873

October 17, 2013

Old Buildings on Stilts

Back in February of last year, I was riding my bike near Mt. Vernon Square in DC, and I noticed a parking lot that had four old buildings on stilts parked in the lot.  I thought it was very strange at the time.

Since then, what I think is happening is that they are utilizing the structure of these old buildings to build a new, modern building around, so that it maintains a sort of "Main Street, USA" feel.  What do you think?

October 13, 2013

Contortionist's Mat for Performance

When I perform contortion, I almost always have a move or two that necessitate my back being hard against the floor.  If I have no padding, I end up with a bruised spine.  Frown.  So, I use a yoga mat to keep me safe.  But I have been embarrassed at how unprofessional it looks to have an ugly green yoga mat on a stage.  It looks like an ugly green yoga mat, not like the supporting prop of a professional contortionist.

Right?  It'd be such a rad performance photo, but that damn mat just looks janky!  Photo by Brian Hoeg
I have been on the lookout for an answer to my problem for a very, very long time.  I found a company that makes circular yoga mats, which is pretty cool, but they're hella expensive, and they also come in bright colors that indicate that it's yoga class time instead of professional gig time. So I was delighted to find a BLACK yoga mat (I thought they just didn't exist!) on clearance at T.J. Maxx the other day!  I decided to take matters into my own hands and create what I needed.

First I made a compass with a thumbtack, piece of string, and a white marker,
and I created two large and two small semicircles (ignore the mistaken attempts)

Secondly, I cut them out and made sure the edges met perfectly.
I cut small pieces to support the large pieces (so it could all be glued together).  

Here they are centered and perpendicular to one another.
First I hot glued down the centerline of the large pieces.
Then I glued the centerline of the small pieces.
Finally I glued the small circle to the large circle.  

Okay, it is all stuck together. Maybe I need to iron that edge down?

Ta-Da!  It works!

Vintage Brass Corners to the Rescue

Someone gave me this wooden box a while back and I like it but was afraid i'd either really hurt someone or something with the corners, or that the corners would chip off.  So I found some vintage brass corners to wrap around that will both bolster and smooth-ify the corners.  I finally found a flat-head screwdriver small enough to do the work today.