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Victorian Era Photographer Frank Meadow Sutcliffe

British photographer Frank Meadow Sutcliffe shot sepia photos between 1875 and 1910 with a large mahogany and brass camera that took "whole plate" glass negatives (6.5"x8.5"). He is best known for his photos of the harbor, the boats and the sea of Whitby on the north east coast of England. We stumbled upon the gallery of his work when visiting Whitby in October. It's a stunning body of work of an era long gone. Whitby is now more of a tourist village than a working fishery, but vestiges remain. http://www.sutcliffe-gallery.co.uk/

Wildlife Sculptures by Chainsaw Artist Randy Boni

Randy Boni grew up near the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, where the wildlife such as deer, bear, red tailed hawks, palliated woodpeckers, and elk, offered him realistic references for the wildlife he carves. "I'm fussy about realism, proper proportion, and I try to bring life into the creatures that I carve."

At a Mighty 104, Gone While Still Going Strong

Article in NY Times on The Great Joe Rollino, famed strongman, who was struck and killed by a car in New York while out walking on Monday. Joe was 104 years old. He once raised up 635 pounds with one finger and could bend quarters. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/nyregion/12ironman.html?hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1263409357-OjbvWioKul+oTMwrrejcoQ
Photo of Joe at his 103rd birthday party by Charles Denson

Ringtail Photo

Photo by ecologist Peter Warshall, who writes: "The ringtail came from near our home in the Chiricahua Mountains, where Geronimo had his last gardens."

Green Roof Garden Shed

"Project Name: Ancaya Green Roof Garden Shed built in 2005 in Raleigh, NC, USA
Roof Size: 112 sq.ft.
Roof Slope: 58.3%
Plant Ecologist, Green Roof Contractor: Emilio Ancaya, Living Roofs, Inc.
Landscape Designer: Kathryn Blatt
The plants growing on the green roof include species of Delosperma, Sedum, Talinum, Euphorbia, and Sempervium …"

Insightful Comment on Stuff Made in China

Just got this comment on my blog of December 20, 2009 regarding tools made in China:
crasch has left a new comment on your post "Stuff Made in China is Too Cheap":

How many of Lloyd's books are sold outside of California? Outside the U.S.? Should potential buyers of Lloyd's books refuse to buy them, because shipping them would involve transporting them hundreds, thousands of miles across arbitrary political borders?

Carried to it's logical extreme, 'buying local' would mean buying only books sold within your own town--could Lloyd survive on income solely from local sales? I suspect not. Moreover, Lloyd's wonderful books would be lost to the rest of the world.

We all benefit because Lloyd's market is the world, and therefore, large enough that he can specialize in writing books.

The same goes for Chinese toolmakers. Do they work under less than ideal conditions relative to workers in the U.S. (pollution, human rights abuses)? Many probably do. But the alternative for them isn't a safe, $90/hour, unionized job. It's going to back to rice paddy farming, or some other similarly backbreaking farm labor.

China's population is over 1 billion. Just as in the U.S. some workers work for great companies, some work for terrible companies, and everything in between. To refuse to buy any products from China because some of them suffer human rights abuses is as ridiculous as refusing to buy U.S. goods because many of our citizens suffer human rights abuses (the U.S. imprisons more people than any other nation, including China, most of them for victimless drug crimes). A better way to address possible sweatshop conditions is by supporting certification programs like http://www.fairworkplace.org.

We can address pollution by putting a tax on cargo ships that use polluting engines/fuels. That way the cost of pollution is incorporated into the price of goods shipped from overseas, and the shipping companies have an incentive to come up with non-polluting fuels.

However, those problems are quite small relative to benefits that both China and the U.S. derive from trade. Just imagine the loss we'd suffer from the disappearance of Lloyd's books x 1.3 billion. I, for one, lose no sleep over buying Chinese goods.

Real Wood Cabinets With Milk Paint

Timber framer Michael Hollihn, in British Columbia, says: "Real cabinets are made out of wood," and points out that MDF (medium density fibreboard) being used for most cabinets these days "…is one of the leading off-gassers of VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) which we now know leads to many respiratory and neurological disfunctions…better off to not have it in our living environments where we want to heal and relax from the stresses of daily life…not to mention the poor quality and longevity of this product."

Builders of the Pacific Coast Excerpt in Architecture Week

Architecture Week, an online magazine (400,000 viewers a month), just did a nice excerpt from our book, Builders of the Pacific Coast: http://bit.ly/6PDqbc