Niagara Region Organic Recycling

Recycle GreenThe Green Bin program has been re-launched in the Niagara Region and hopefully it catches on to more households this time. For those unfamiliar with the program it is essentially composting for urban environments, where citizens leave their organic waste out alongside waste and recyclables and curbside pickup takes it away. Great for people in small communities where composting becomes more of a hassle than a benefit.

Common household organic setups include placing a small bin on the kitchen counter to collect unusable or unused organic waste (egg shells, apple cores, etc.). This smaller receptacle is sufficient for most people living alone, though families are encouraged to use the larger green bin to collect all of the smaller parts, keep the smell down, and generally make it easier for pickup.

After instating the organics program at Brock it increased annual waste diversion to 58% for 2007 (only 42% of all waste went to the landfill). If this level of success could be carried over into households it could extent the life of the existing landfills in Niagara by decades. Also waste management organizations benefit from the organics collection through the resale of the compost in the same way that aluminum and paper recycling keeps the recycling programs economically sound.

Support the Organic Recycling program or petition your local waste management to join the new standard.

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Greentech Gadgeteer

RecyclingWhoa! Today I received a refreshing reminder from some friends that I haven't seen in a while that I have a lot of Greentech Gadgets. So many that I actually merit being labeled alternative... which is bad news in a couple ways. Many of the technologies that I test and implement are the mushy middle tools that everyday people can use - inexpensive solutions. Though the complete conversion has been gradual, selling the whole package now seems radical.

  • Alternative Lighting (No Mercury, Diode Technology)
  • Alternative Transportation (Electric or self-powered)
  • Alternative Computing (Web based, Lower power consumption) Etc. Bleh.

All standards compliant, good for everyday people. So, it is easy to be extreme-green even on a student budget. Some might argue that the affordability makes it an added bonus while on a student budget. Though everybody is different and I would love to hear more about other experiences -in person and in Niagara. Every change has to eventually feel homegrown otherwise the "foreign technology" stigma shows up and kills mainstream acceptance.

For more info check out Metaefficient, Gizmodo, and Autobloggreen - great recommendations.

Faster and Faster

Bonelli Ultima 1.0 HybridFinally managed to get my hands on an affordable and durable road bicycle. The benefits of cycling are numerous and often boring - so I'll leave that to hardcore cycling bloggers. My appreciation goes to the maintainers of the Niagara Trail Systems, and I have a new reason to support tougher road laws on auto drivers. I will elaborate.

Riding along the Canal is beautiful and actually connects the region in good ways. Meeting other people who also enjoy to travel by their own power along the way. Not much to complain about as most of that land is not able to be used for anything else at this time. I'll have to post pictures another time, though they would hardly do justice to the experience.

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End of the Semester

Used as reference to the institution mentioned in the article, linked from source no alterations.The Summer semester is finally coming to an end, which means no more early mornings for a couple of weeks hopefully. It has been moderately enjoyable in the ERSC class and I will be glad to be done as the material progressively seemed to be more and more repetitive of the previous units. And unlike some of the courses by Prof. Dreifelds this kind of repetitive look at new kinds of disasters and global abnormalities was not holding my interest.

This reminds me that it is time for my recommendation post. These are a series of courses and professors that I had the luxury of listening to and believe that you should too.

Prof. Charles Burton of Brock University offers Rise of China, a media rich exploration into Chinese Political and Social culture and its recent evolution. This includes a deeper canadian perspective on the development as he is an active part of the political process.

Prof. Juris Dreifelds of Brock University whose experience spans nearly a century. His recommended courses include the Media Studies Lectures, Quebec in Canada, Former Soviet Republics (Comparative), and hopefully something environmental soon to make use of his background in forestry.

Prof. Lightbody of Brock University, a philosophy professor with a knack for understatement. His assignments will likely demolish your average but his lectures will leave you with a new perspective on philosophical issiues. Recommended PHIL Intro Courses and Bioethics.

Prof. Chris McIntyre - A professor from the University of Windsor and any of his courses would still rank among my favourites. But as a Brock Student you will not have this experience.

O-Week Preparations

O-Week 2007-8Getting ready for O-Week again with the least amount of work in years. I will still be working closely with Brock Senator Joey Brown (GSA-COSC) on increasing communication between the Undergraduate Students' Organizations and Graduate Students' Organizations in the 2008-2009 year. After senate obligations most of my prep work will be related to non-aligned advocacy - otherwise known as talking for a long time about the same stuff until the importance of sustainability, development, infrastructure and humour is felt by as many of my peers as possible.

OPIRG Outage

OPIRGThe other day I had an opportunity to share some information about my Residential LED conversion project with OPIRG - and it couldn't have come at a better time for them. The OPIRG-Brock Website ( was experiencing a major outage as thier domain provider payment lapsed and in turn all DNS information was reset. Simply put - their site became an AD site for a nameless organization pending new information. The problem was solved within the hour and with time to spare for a brief explanation of the benefits of diode lighting. In attendance Ron Walker (Welland-ML) and Jen Coorsh.

100 Things Challenge Update

Ok, it is still taking some time to fill in the 100 things list. Deliberately trying to choose which 100 peripheries to my being would ease my life without becoming a burden. A burden only in the "the things you own own you" line of though.

Giving up my printed library and hoping that solar equipment and efficient flash memory will lighten the physical mass is probably my favourite change. My least favourite changes have to do with cleaning and clothing - two of my pre-existing weak points. It is an exercise that helps me to remain alert as a consumer and increases the psychological value of the products that assist me at this time. Check it out and try it yourself.

The Original Zen Habits Article that kicked off this quest can be found here:

My evolving online list can be found here:

Sakai in Fall/Winter 2008

I recently had an opportunity to attend one of the Sakai information seminars hosted by Matt Clare of Brock University ITS. This seminar, intended for faculty, is intended to ease integration into the new LMS (Learning Management System). The Sakai LMS, or CLE (Collaborative Learning Environment) as Matt and the Sakai team prefered to call it, is the current replacement for WebCT/Blackboard at the University.

Modules are the most important feature of the Sakai engine. Modules support services that are innovative or taken for granted. The resources module takes care of posting assignments and files that pertain to the course. The RSS module aggregates the news feeds selected by the students or professors into one unified reading space. There are many more that can be seen at the Brock Learning Wiki known as Kumu or the Unicon Support page (which has a more comprehensive listing of modules that even Brock does not use.

According to M.Clare Brock is working to implement a new module to be used aside the sakai.Dropbox module. This module will integrate TurnItIn features to the CLE at Brock making it easier for students and professors to submit and review work. In some ways this bothers me, as my last experiment with TurnItIn had verbatim copies of Plato without citation that it mulled past as if it were new content. I would like to believe the TurnItIn system has improved technically and in usability - though I personally would rather not use it.

Other than that I would like to highlight the presentation style of M.Clare, he keep the faculty members captivated and they were understanding the material and asking questions after the presentation that seemed suited to veteran users of Sakai. Good job!

Please visit the following sites for more information about Sakai or its modules:

The Illusion of Disaster

FloodingGiven the number of global issues presented in the media this summer I am surprised that there is little to no reporting on the development in those regions effected by recent disasters. After each of these recent natural disasters the effected areas experienced greater cooperation and development. Though any quantified data may be set aside since any development would seem exponential when working from a blank slate. Allow me to elaborate.

Some of these ideas are derivative of the work that has been done in class recently, expanded and based on the world perspective I have cultivated over the last couple of years. Basically the direct effects of disaster are horrible, though the disaster itself is good. It pushes the people in those areas to be stronger and smarter until the acts of nature are passing rather than devastating. Japan, Hawaii, Greece, and South Africa are excellent examples and i would recommend looking into their modern disasters. knowing about how others dealt with disaster can improve your technique.

Over the weekend I spent time in the Allegheny Mountains in New York State, during that time a powerful storm passed through. The storm was long, strong and made only worse because of the pea sized hail that came along with it. In the mountains it was hilarious to watch the wind and lightning as we (Alie and I) ate calmly. Wayne had equipment, though simple that acted as a shelter that we were confident would protect us from the storm. Upon my return home I was met with images of peoples houses falling apart, road flooding and other problems on the news from NY state - worse than that in the mountains. Simply put, understanding how nature will effect your civil infrastructure and personal shelter can make all of the difference between a passing storm and a minor disaster.

That story was nice but as it did not break the infrastructure nothing will be done to change and improve how humans live in western New York. It takes major disasters like floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and whatnot to wipe the slate clean and allow the smartest and strongest among us to build it better. I hope you can see a stronger future in your community.

Niagara Meetup (Social Media and Technologies Conference)

Coming up on August 16th 2008 the "Niagara Meetup" will be held in Niagara on the Lake. Originally this seemed to be a small gathering of geeks, netcasters, and bloggers in Niagara - it now seems different. Many new sponsors have come to support the development of this gathering and it now seems as though it may become a strong event for enthusiasts and content producers alike. Determining a direction for these producers outside of the Toronto bubble where corporate interests may taint innovation. Eek, rant.

The NSM is free this year and hopefully will continue to be in the following years. I will refrain from making any additional predictions until the event is underway, though if you are interested in attending or discovering more please go to


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