So many possibilities behind this fence
February 29, 2008, 4:10 pm by bottleman. Filed under: photography, thank-you's.

photo by malingering, used under creative commons, see

Thanks for being you, Malingering.

Earth to Greens: don’t support Nader’s bid
February 25, 2008, 2:23 pm by bottleman. Filed under: making a difference, politics.

Somehow, kalevkevad’s photo titled “Garbage Disaster” seems apropos.

photo by flickr user kavelkevad, used under Creative Commons license, see

It’s a gentle preview of what might happen if Ralph Nader’s presidential bid manages to splinter off a piece of the progressive vote this year. Yes, I groaningly agree, none of the major candidates in the current election are sworn enemies of corporate capitalism. And you have to give the man extreme props for his heroism as a consumer advocate. But the concept that there is no difference between the two major parties, especially on environmental policies, is preposterous.

Go home to your honors and your achievements and a well-deserved beer, Ralph. I’ll even send you a sweet, sweet six to get the party started. We can watch the election returns together, and hold hands, and cry, and at the end of the night, smile with just a smidgeon of hope.

Finally, Al Gore gets real: changing light bulbs isn’t enough.
February 23, 2008, 7:47 am by bottleman. Filed under: making a difference, politics.

I must get legit press credentials so I can attend stellar events like this one: Bono and Al Gore together on the same stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

image from AFP,

Besides fueling slippery-fingered fantasies worldwide (how’d you like to get down with both of them in a Swiss hotel room? now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!), Al Gore got frank, and I’d say, helpful. He said, quote:

“I think it is really important from a climate change point of view to move away from the idea that personal actions from each of us represents the solution to this crisis.”

By personal actions, he’s talking about changing light bulbs and other bits of personal lifestyle, as promoted by treehugger and other relentlessly positive promoters of green consumerism.

“These are important… but in addition to changing the light bulbs it is important to change the laws,” Gore said.

Thank you Al. Don’t forget to vote!

Alternating tread stairs — the dream and the reality
February 22, 2008, 7:04 am by bottleman. Filed under: design, my tiny house project, tiny houses.

Here come the objections: Unpermittable. Uninsurable. Illegal. Or my favorite: impossible!

alternating tread ladder image borrowed from

[Ladder image borrowed from via materialicious.]

People striving to make environmentally sensitive housing often struggle against building codes and planning officials that tell them their environmentally positive design feature simply “can’t be done.” In the case of small houses or accessory dwelling units– which can be greener than a solar mcmansion just by being reasonably sized — one of the biggest challenges can come with stairways, since code stairways take up so much floor area and volume.

There are alternatives, of course, and here I’ll tell you about the one we used in my tiny house project: …more

Tabletop biosphere project: free instructions and an update
February 20, 2008, 8:32 am by bottleman. Filed under: closed ecological systems, magazine watch.

Last year MAKE magazine published a tutorial I wrote about how to make a closed ecological system in a sealed bottle. It was a significant improvement on the earlier attempts I had made. My new system could reliably sustain Amano shrimp for 3 months or more, and snails indefinitely.

photo by the author, hosted by flickr

“The TSSM (Tabletop Shrimp Support Module) is a fun demonstration of the ecological cycles that keep us all alive, and an enticement to muse on everything from Godhood to space colonization,” I wrote in the teaser, and hey, I believe that more than ever now. Everybody should do this project.

Now MAKE’s a pricey mag — well worth it of course — but nonetheless it was nice to see the editors release my article to the public as a free PDF. In the months since the MAKE piece I’ve …more

The #1 thing you can do for the environment this year is…
February 18, 2008, 10:52 am by bottleman. Filed under: making a difference, politics.

VOTE. And if I can’t can’t convince you, how about flickr artiste magandafille?

photo by flickr user magandafille licensed under creative commons, see

Somehow I feel less cynical when I look at this photo.

Generally when it comes to greening up our lives, we tend to overestimate the impact of our sentiments, and …more