Posts Tagged ‘los angeles’

Morgana Matus

One of the perks of being the caretaker of the Bambu Batu blog is that I, Morgana Matus, can engage in a little shameless self-promotion from time to time. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to announce that I have started a photoblog over at morganamatus.com that will be a chronicle of my past adventures, explore visual culture, and be a repository for terrible puns. In the coming months, I will be posting images taken in Norway, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Mexico, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, and San Luis Obispo. You can expect tales from trekking in the frozen north, slogging through the jungles of Central America, and fooling around in clown college.

So, next time you are surfing the web, stop on by! And I promise, no more shameless self-promotion. That name again, Morgana Matus.

Chances are, if you are attempting to talk to a child about math and science, you will receive a look of mild boredom at best and outright disgust at worst. Yet, if you throw in the words “video games”, “robots”, “lasers”, or “fire”, you are sure to grab their attention. Confident that learning can be a fun and engaging experience, co-founders of Los Angeles-based Two Bit Circus, Brent Bushnell and Eric Gradman, have launched a spectacle that is certain to dazzle kids and adults alike. Prepare yourselves for the STEAM Carnival, a synthesis of entertainment and education that uses cutting edge technology and showmanship to delight and inform.

Currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, the STEAM Circus is hoping to raise funds to establish a state-of-the-art big tent affair complete with games, prizes, food, live entertainment, and the latest technology to inspire children to get excited about the arts and sciences. STEAM, or “Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math” seeks to encourage kids to explore the world around them and become more involved in education. According to Naval STEM, only 33 percent of eighth graders show an interest in the disciplines, and a scant 6 percent of high school seniors will seek a major in the fields. With attractions like the motion capture mechanical bull, ignition ring toss, and human asteroid games, who wouldn’t be thrilled to participate in the sciences?

Through digital art galleries, musical robots, fashion shows of wearable electronics, and a healthy dose of fire, the STEAM Carnival hopes to give the world of science a much needed boost in PR. Kids will be able to also sign up for a special kit that they will be able to take home to jumpstart their careers as future inventors. Slated to open in the spring of 2014, the event will begin in Los Angeles before traveling to San Francisco and cities beyond. Two Bit Circus is working towards raising enough money via crowdsourcing to invent new activities, reach out to schools, secure locations, and finalize production. Contribute today in order to bring the Carnival to life!

Across the US, hydraulic fracturing has been the source of a raging debate over domestic energy policy. While some tout “fracking” as a way to generate local power and provide jobs and money in a time of economic hardship, the act of  shattering shale to extract gas and petroleum have many worried. From exploding wells and flammable tap water to toxic chemicals contaminating aquifers and earthquakes, fracking has major consequences for the environment. California stands as the 4th largest gas and oil producing state, and even though new existing wells are already being exploited by fracking technology, the process is almost completely unregulated.

In response to the exploitation of land and natural resources, the Global Exchange has organized California Communities Rising Against Fracking, a speaking tour of the Golden State that exposes the realities of the extraction technology. The tour will largely target those areas that would most strongly impacted and stops include Sacramento, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Culver City, and Los Angeles. Each stop will host a day of action preceded by a local media plan and outreach groups. Former Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania councilman Dough Shields will be scheduled to speak as one of the first to enact a “rights-based” ban on fracking in the nation.

The Global Exchange launched the Community Rights Program challenging corporate power five years ago to confront the unjust laws that value big business over the rights of citizens. The have partnered with organizations such as 350.org, Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, Clean Water Action, EarthWorks, and Transition Towns to fight for the health and well-being of Americans through grassroots efforts. Currently, they are working towards banning fracking in San Luis Obispo county, following the examples of Pennsylvania, New York, and New Mexico who have outlawed the process.

For more information on the tour, contact Shannon Biggs, Community Rights Program Director for the Global Exchange at (415) 575-5540 and shannon@globalexhange.org.

You see them everywhere they are not supposed to be.  Plastic bags  have become an irritating part of the landscape, lining the highways, caught in tree branches, floating in the ocean.  The buggers jam recycling machinery, block drainage systems, languish in landfills, and are mistaken for food by wildlife.  Fashioned from petrochemicals, these bags are highly resistant to degradation.  While some can be collected and recycled, and all can be re-purposed as garbage and storage bags, these seemingly convenient plastic sacks generally wind up as fodder for the dump or become one of the main ingredients for marine pollution.

While the plastic bag has its friends in high places, such as the American Chemistry Council, ExxonMobil, and Dow Chemical, cities across the country are beginning to let the flimsy film know that it is not welcome.  A quarter of the world’s countries have either restricted, taxed, or outlawed single-use plastic bags, and the United States is slowly starting to follow suit.  San Francisco began the trend in 2007, and was copied on the local level by other cities including Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon.

San Luis Obispo is considering a bag ban with an additional tax for plastics, but has experienced opposition from well-funded lobbying groups and those that believe a bag restriction comes as an infringement to freedom of choice and as a burden to business owners.

One of the simplest and most effective methods of reducing your plastic footprint is to bring your own cloth or sturdy reusable bag with you to the local supermarket, restaurant, or retail store.  Here at Bambu Batu we carry cloth totes and Blue Lotus reusable produce bags for conscious shoppers.  All of your purchases from the store are bagged in recycled paper, and we are always enthusiastic to see customers bring their own backpacks, purses and satchels.

What do you think?  Should San Luis Obispo ban the bag?  Tax plastic?  Recycle reusables?  Are cities overstepping Constitutional boundaries when imposing levies on these products?  Are environmental risks enough to consider outlawing single use bags altogether?

 

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