As a break from my ranting, I have a few recommendations for articles on different topics that folks might want to take a look at:
How to cheat at LEED for homesThis is not actually a guide to cheating, but a note on some of the basic ways to earn LEED credits for your project-the simple things you don't want to miss. It also points out a few of the flaws in the system. It's a good read, both fun and practical. Here's a quote:
Instead, pick up as many points as you can by doing the easy stuff. While this isn't technically cheating, it will feel like it because many of these things are things that quality builders do already.
Interview with author and historian Andrea WulfMs. Wulf wrote a book about the Founding Fathers and their love of gardening. I enjoyed the interview from Smithonian and may go grab a copy of the book. The interview is short, but looks at how Jefferson finally decided that a formal garden could be patriotic and how felt that farming was definitely so. I was particularly interested in this question and answer:
You write that Madison was at the forefront of conservation. How so? This was the greatest surprise in writing the book. Madison is not just the father of the Constitution; he's also the forgotten father of American environmentalism. He tried to rally Americans to stop destroying the forest and the soil. He said for America to survive, Americans had to protect their environment. He did not romanticize nature as later generations did. He looked at this in a practical way, saying nature was a fragile ecological system, and if man wanted to live off nature, in the long term something had to change. Overview of LIDAR technologyLIDAR is increasingly being used in forest management. Here's an excerpt from an article in The Economist that I thought was interesting:
Like its cousins radar and sonar, lidar (light detection and ranging), works by broadcasting electromagnetic waves towards a target and then building up a picture from the reflection. In the case of lidar, the waves are in the form of an infra-red laser beam. And in the case of the forests of south-western Nepal, the target is the trees. During a forest survey, an aircraft-borne lidar sweeps a beam that fires about 70,000 pulses a second over the canopy. A sensor on the aircraft records the time it takes to receive the backscattering of pulses, and that is used to compute distances to the forest canopy and to the soil beneath.