Tag Archives: Environment

Baileys Hill’s Blissful Gem


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Back in Monday I referred to this ‘hidden gem’ I discovered earlier this year.  I’ve lived around Lynn for more than a year and never discovered this incredible landmark within Nahant until this Spring.  Nahant is a quaint, timeless island attached to the rambunctious atmosphere within the city of Lynn.  Surrounded by the vast ocean, Nahant is where you slow down and notice the movements of nature.

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Located at the end of Bass Point Road is Bailey’s Hill.  Bailey’s Hill features park benches as well as a gazebo built near the ocean.  But what really intrigued me about this park was the trail veering off to the right.  And what I discovered at the end of the trail was something truly amazing.

#1 Following the Trail

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With my backpack in hand, I stepped out to the entrance of Bailey’s Hill.  I veered off to the right where I noticed this trail heading up north.  The trail looked like it was inclining higher as you walked further along.  What was this mysterious trail leading me to?  How far would this trail go?  Curiosity got the best of me, so I started walking towards the trail.

          #2 Shrouded in greenery

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          Walking up the path, I am greeted by the shroud of greenery along the sides.  Plants, branches, leaves, and flowers made their place in their neck of the woods.  The sun is slowly waning in the sky, giving off its last jolt of light before taking off for the night.  Shadows are swaying by the plants, hinting that natural darkness is yet to come.   Light gave color to the plants and the darkness is creeping up to steal every inch of it.

          #3 Twisted Tree Dancing

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I took a small break when I noticed a unique group of tree trunks.  These tree trunks were twisting upwards, soaring higher into the blue sky.  Autumn’s foliage is shedding the leaves of their temporary color, only to have them fall to the ground before winter.  Leaves are falling, yet twisty tree trunks continue to fly higher into the sky.  It’s as if life within the tree trunks was still bursting.  What strange symbol could be waiting for me next?

          #4 End of the Trail

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After wandering aimlessly through this curvy path, I stopped to look further ahead.  There it was – just one last leg of the trail left.  More plants and shrubs and trees greeted me near the end as I walked to where the cement met the dirt.  Cement slowly thinned out near the ground as I entered through Nature’s path.

          #5 Trees Hiding Surprise

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            As the path became more and more rugged, I knew that I was heading towards the end of my journey.  I stumbled onto an area where huge trees stood their grounds.  Looking past the growing trees, I noticed a crystal clear blue light shining nearby.  The end is close!

          #6 One Last Path

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Wandering past the trees, I discovered the last path through the exit.  One more small, narrow path leading me to a whole new area of Bailey’s Hill.  The journey has been fun, but I was ready for what lied ahead in the end.  What special area has this miraculous path led me to?

          #7 Paradise

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There it was – paradise.  I reached the end of trail to catch one of the most beautiful sights ever.  Clear blue ocean swirling, seagulls leaping off, the sky painted in hues of pink and orange.

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I traveled quite far from my apartment, walking farther and farther away.  In this land, there was no city.  There were no cars or buses or restaurants or people or drugs or billboards.  Instead, there was only LIFE – Life occurring to the very fullest.

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Seagulls diving into the ocean for clams, barnacles sliding through the slippery rocks, sea salt swiveling around the tide pools, waves crashing ferociously every second.  That right here is how life truly happens – not just for us, but for every living being on this planet.  It’s not about you getting through that crappy job or searching for your soulmate; in reality, it’s about surviving every complexity life has to offer.  What’s truly shocking about this conclusion is that man will never grasp full control of this so-called life!

When I reached closer to the ocean, I realized how small I truly was as I human being.  All of those personal turmoil or sadness washes away into the sea because you stop to realize that you part of something so much BIGGER and GREATER than you ever could imagine.  Those daily problems — collecting enough money for rent or getting through that project – seem completely and utterly superficial when you understand how many other living species are on this Earth.  You are facing the same complexities of life, just like the barnacle sliding through the tide pool or the fish swishing around to avoid predators.

          #8 Nature’s Reward

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          Even when I thought I have seen everything in this incredible area at Bailey’s Hill, it turns out to be even more magnificent.  An orange glow was shining through just a few minutes after taking in the paradise in front of me.  Not only did I come to the end, but the sun was just about to set.  The sun was waning into the ground, casting silhouettes from the distance.  Its orange glow reflected upon the choppy waters, streaming a path straight ahead.

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Minutes passed and the sun was concealed from the silhouetted buildings.  What was once a gold-orange sky was now becoming hues of pink and dark blue.  Sunset was turning to twilight in just the blink of an eye.  It was something you anticipated for, but at the same time its too overwhelming with beauty that you couldn’t believe what was happening.  This was the instance where patience becomes the ultimate virtue in the end.

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That marked the end to my adventure around Bailey’s Hill.  From the leading trail to finding nature’s surprise, the whole experience was outstanding.  This was something you had to discover for yourself, not read about it in some book or article.  The spontaneity made the journey even more mystifying, prompting me to reflect back on my role as a human being here on this earth.  It was one of those days where nothing mattered except this very moment.  Walking through the trail, being greeted by shrubs, viewing the twisted trees branches – those small things made it that much more memorable.

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In the end, the most exciting experience that occurs is the unexpected, spontaneous experience.  It’s truly amazing because you don’t anticipate what happens, yet the fun part is diving head-first into the many surprises life has to offer.  Wandering through the trail at Bailey’s Hill provides that experience every time.

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Facebooking For Friendly Events!


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Facebook is a great social media site where users can find out what’s happening around their town.  Restaurants, concert venues, schools, aquariums, and even breweries update their schedules for the customers.  Whether it is a live band playing or a new product release, employers log onto social media sites like Facebook to generate buzz about their special occasion.

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Social media has become the dominating form of communications in the 21st century.  More and more audiences are utilizing unique media channels to get their word out.  Some social media sites that people are using include Twitter, LinkedIn, Vine, Snapchat, and others.  Even as more social media channels open up, Facebook continues to be a popular social media site for generating buzz about your event.

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In some cases, the events aren’t necessarily associated with a business or organization.  Some events are organized by users who are looking to do something out of spontaneity.  Anyone can create an event for a specific purpose, which means there’s lots of room for spontaneous activities.

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Spontaneous events spruce up every week around the city, prompting users to gather to a specific location.  These participants ‘scream like’ a specific character or ‘run like’ their favorite protagonist.  For example, an event titled ‘Scream like Goku’ urges participants to come together to scream like Goku from Dragon Ball Z.  Everyone gathers together at a specific time to start screaming for a few minutes.

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Another related event titled “Screaming Soiled It @ Trump Tower” urges participants to gather around Trump Tower to scream ‘soiled it’ over and over.  Fans of Nickelodeon’s Spongebob Squarepants would recognize the line from the episode titled ‘The Algae’s Always Greener’ on season three.  Any Spongebob Squarepants fans (or fans of the popular meme for that matter!) would definitely be interested in meeting up in Trump Tower.

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As silly as some of these events are, its intriguing to see how these events are bringing people together.  Ideas like Flash Mobs draw people into one fantastic event where everyone stops what they are doing and get into a dance routine.  Rather than isolate people any further, these events are drawing strangers into one friendly event.  Those strangers you met up with at the spontaneous event could be the new BFF in your life.  In a time where social media becomes the trending media norm in the 21st century, people are utilizing creative ways to connect with each other through events where they scream like their favorite character.

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These spontaneous events were really interesting!  I’ve been seeing these humorous events popping up around my Facebook newsfeed and I figured this would be an interesting topic.  It’s great to see people coming together in a designated location (even if it is something silly like screaming like Goku!).  This is the kind of occasion where long-lasting friendships could be made.

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This is one instance where social media continues to bring people together.  People are meeting new friends, acquaintances, and even relationships that they never saw coming.  Social media channels like Facebook are great for spreading awareness about your event happening.  Whether it is a live band playing for your restaurant or gathering people to yell like their favorite heroes, there is some event going on for everyone to enjoy.

 

The Price-Gouging Parasite!


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We’ve been having a slew of crazy weather around America these past few weeks.  First hurricane Harvey invaded Texas, flooding thousands of acres of land within the state.  Hundreds of thousands of people are still affected today and the state’s natural environment is heavily damaged.  Now we’re in the midst of the environmental PR nightmare that is hurricane Irma; a PR nightmare that is so strong that Man is losing its deep-rooted battle with Nature.

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Thousands of homes have been destroyed, people are migrating to better land, and food supply has already become dangerously low.  This dangerous shortage of food supply (or supply of any commodity for that matter) leads to the controversial tactic within the marketing/economic world known as price gouging.  To marketing and economic enthusiasts, price gouging is a taboo subject because of its drastic effect it has for the consumers.  It’s a strategy so horrifying, it can only be described as… The Price Gouging Parasite!

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Let’s start dissecting this dreaded monster within the marketing and economics world – price gouging is the event where the seller purposely spikes the goods, services, or commodities to an insanely price level.  Price gouging is considered to exploit the hidden dangers of the economic system, showcasing a worst-case scenario for its consumers.  Marketers don’t want to touch upon this provocative idea that occurs when marketing prices (Four P’s of Marketing: Product, Place, Promotion, and PRICE!).

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Price Gouging usually occurs in the event of a natural disaster like hurricanes; in this case, it’s happening with Hurricane Irma.  Travelers are paying thousands of dollars for one-way tickets out of Florida, the scarce food supply becomes increasingly expensive due to such a large demand, and the communities themselves have become total anarchy.  This dark marketing/economic tactic is driving people insane, acting in animalistic behavior in order to satisfy their basic needs.  When basic needs such as food and shelter suddenly disappear, all HELL breaks loose for every living creature in the area.

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Now here’s where things get interesting – price gouging is LEGAL in sixteen states.  Thirty-four states enacted anti-price gouging laws with natural disasters being part of the exceptions.  Florida is one of those states as well as California, Massachusetts, Vermont, and even Hawaii.  More than half of the country set up anti-price gouging laws and the irony is that majority of states deal with natural disasters every year.

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Rather than just discuss this as price gouging, we should label it with its true identity – the Price Gouging Parasite.  Why is it called the Price Gouging Parasite you may ask?  Price Gouging is the idea of sucking up as much money from the consumer by setting an outrageously high price.  As the price rises higher, more profit is being sucked up into the system.  Think of it like a parasite sucking the blood from you skin, smooching up trillions of essential blood cells.  The more blood it sucks up, the stronger the parasite becomes and you grow even weaker.

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Just like that parasite sucking the life out of you, price gouging weakens your economic life.  It’s one of the dirtiest strategies within the marketing and economic world during a time of crisis.  What’s even more disturbing is how it feeds of people’s fears during these catastrophic events.

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So how do we deal with the Price-Gouging Parasite?  Where does this monster’s true weakness lie?  Is there a negotiable loophole that could put an end to it?

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Unfortunately, there is no straight answer towards defeating the Price-Gouging Parasite.  It’s inevitability during natural disasters makes this one tough monster to defeat.  As a hard truth to admit, price gouging is just something that’s bound to happen one way or another.  Whether it’s airlines charging travelers thousands of dollars or vendors jacking up prices for water bottles, the Price-Gouging Parasite pops up one way or another.

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As a consumer, you do have one alternative option – opt out of the purchasing process.  If you find that the price for your desired product is simply not worth it, then head off and find the same product with a lower price.  You, as a consumer, make the choice whether or not to go ahead with buying that bottled water or last-minute plane ticket out of the state.  These are frustrating choices to make, yet these are what you will have to choose during these chaotic times.

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And that right there folks, is what we are dealing with right now.  The Price-Gouging Parasite strikes once again during these times of environmental disasters.  Essential goods are becoming scarce, prompting human beings to initiate hasty decisions in order to survive another day.  This parasite sucks people dry, leaving many to fend for themselves.

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Here’s to hoping that Floridians survive another day in the midst of hurricane Irma.  All we can do is wait for the storm to pass so that the Price-Gouging Parasite is laid to rest.

Hempcrete Homes For Humanity


Ever since legalization made waves on the elections last year, there’s been a lot of 4/20-friendly topics cranking out for MakeSandcastlesNotWar.  It has only been 2 months and the cannabis community has already seen some major progress with their social/cultural issues.  Just a few days ago, the DEA erased some false information regarding some ‘health facts’ about cannabis.  Social media helped peddle the positive cultural influences into the mainstream media, raising awareness of its numerous medicinal benefits.  It was one of many PR miracles that the cannabis community needed to broaden its identity within the social culture.

With cannabis stealing the spotlight, there hasn’t been much light shed on hemp.  Hemp is basically cannabis’ shy, introverted cousin that doesn’t a lot of coverage in the media.  This tall, sturdy plant is a member of the cannabis sativa species that contains no flowering buds during its life cycle.  Unlike cannabis, hemp is a non-psychoactive plant with a high CBD content and contains very little THC.  While consuming hemp won’t get you high, it’s still considered an important product here in America.

Hemp is considered a schedule 1 drug (like cannabis!), yet it’s still grown in over 30 countries.  Ironically enough, it is legal to import hemp into the United States.  Its versatile use made hemp an essential commercial and industrial product for thousands of years.  Some key uses for hemp include food, textiles, fiber, plastics, and other important materials.  One of the most important functions of hemp is utilizing it for a building material known as hempcrete.

Hempcrete is a bio-composite material made from a mixture of hemp hurds and lime.  Hurds are the inner woody core of the hemp stalk in a mineral matrix utilized to form a material that is non-toxic, carbon-negative, and energy-efficient for building. The mixture of hemp hurds and lime is used during the construction and insulation process of home building.  Like most plants, hempcrete absorbs the carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere as it grows.  Being that hemp hurds is an energy-efficient material, hempcrete is great a great tool for sustainable housing.  It’s also naturally fire and pest resistant, so you won’t have to worry about uninvited guests spoiling your dinner (Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!).

The first use of hempcrete material was when Italian mater brick mason and builder Charles Rasetti renovated the Maison de la Turque (aka House of Turkey) in Nogent-sur-Seine, France in 1986.  Originally built around 1550 A.D., the Maison de la Turque is a timber-framed building that utilized hemp for numerous products in new construction or renovation.  Such projects including work for the insulation of floors, coatings, walls, roofs, and other major projects for construction. Hemp may have been illegal to grow in the United States at the time, but countries like France were already paving the way for sustainable homes.

With climate change being one of the most prominent environmental issues of the 21st century, it’s HIGH time we start searching for more renewable materials (no pun intended!).  Other countries have already been growing hemp for decades, thus advancing further in the fight against climate change.  When it comes to sustainable housing, hempcrete should take center stage as a renewable building material.  We need to take advantage of the ever-growing cannabis culture by discussing more about hemp as a building material.  Hemp needs to be pushed into the spotlight more in order to raise awareness of its versatile use.

Our founding fathers utilized hemp when America was gaining its national identity.  George Washington grew hemp in his backyard while Benjamin Franklin established the first hemp paper mill.  These men would be rolling in their graves if they discovered that we’ve criminalized this versatile plant.  Climate change has been problematic for our natural environment for decades.  With this ever-changing climate, maybe the secret to reversing the damages is going to pot…literally!  Maybe the key has been hidden within cannabis and hemp all along and the PR nightmare caused by the ‘Reefer Madness’ mindset has caused dramatic effects within our environment.

Social media may have shed the light on cannabis, but now we have to shed more of that light towards hemp as building material.  Hemp is something we need to take seriously if we want to win our battle against climate change.  Mother Nature provides so many useful tools on this earth and one of those special tools could shape the way we construct sustainable houses in the near future.

 

Robert Hooke Gets Hooked on Cannabis


After a long day of working in Boston, it’s always great to come home for a Netflix & Chill night.  There’s a lot more choices to find through Netflix rather than changing the channel every second.  One show I recently got into lately was Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.  Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosted this 13-episode science documentary that chronicles various aspects of the cosmos.  Tyson discusses groundbreaking phenomena that fundamentally shaped the ideas of science.

Each episode chronicles a certain category about the cosmos.  From discussing the first original species that walked the earth to the public battle against lead, Cosmos: A Space Odyssey gives viewers a glimpse into what earth was like millions of years ago.  It’s a real mind-blowing science series that teaches you the origins of how life came to be (I HIGHLY recommend smoking some cannabis with your friends while watching this because you will NOT regret it!).

A funny incident happened when I was watching the show.  I was on the episode titled ‘When Knowledge Conquered Fear’ and was learning about Robert Hooke’s battle with Isaac Newton.  Neil deGrasse Tyson discussed various things that Hooke was experimenting with and one of those things just happened to be…CANNABIS.  Seriously you guys…Robert Hooke, a famous scientist during the 17th century, experimented with cannabis during his free time.

My jaw INSTANTLY dropped to the floor when I heard this!  I couldn’t believe that Robert Hooke was actually experimenting with cannabis.  Here’s how the story goes: Hooke’s friend Robert Knox brought back “a strange intoxicating herb like hemp” (a.k.a ‘Indian hemp’ or ‘bangue’) from one of his trips and gave it to Hooke for him to try.  His sea captain friend Knox mentioned that there wasn’t any cause of fear, but that there would be laughter.  This story didn’t sound real to me, so I did some research that shocked me even more.

Seriously guys… it gets better!  Not only was this fact true, but it’s also interesting to point out that Carl Sagan was a major cannabis advocate.  Sagan’s wife Ann Druyan, who also co-wrote both of the series, is currently on the NORML Advisory Board.  You guys…what…the FUCK.

I consumed some cannabis before watching this episode and was blown away by this random cannabis reference within the series.  Here I was, watching this cool science mini-series that is teaching me about the origin of the cosmos and I randomly get hit with this fun fact.  One of the greatest scientists of the 17th century, Robert Hooke, experimented with cannabis during his free time.  It’s ironic that teachers around the country (especially those that teach science!) demonize cannabis use when history has shown time and time again that cannabis has a special place here in society.

This was an interesting fact to find out on Cosmos: A Space Odyssey!  Science has always been my favorite subject in school and I always found it fascinating to learn about how certain ideas were discovered.  It wasn’t until I was in college that I discovered various historians have used cannabis during their line of work. From George Washington to Carl Sagan, many historic figures regularly used cannabis on a daily basis.

Maybe this fact is proof that cannabis has always had a place here in America.  If George Washington grew hemp in his backyard, then how did we stray so far from the lessons of our founding fathers?  How did we go from openly using cannabis to becoming so taboo about it among our friends and family?  Robert Hooke, as well as his friend Robert Knox, would roll over in their graves if they saw how we treat cannabis in our society.

Science is about questioning every moment that happens and creating experiments based on our hypothesis on what we think might happen.  Sometimes that outcome doesn’t match our hypothesis,but that’s OK because we’ve discovered something unique in our study.  I believe that Robert Hooke still would’ve struck gold with his scientific discoveries, regardless of whether or not he tried cannabis.  But in the end, we’ll have to become more liberal about our cannabis culture here in society if we ever want to discover something amazing for the sake of science.