Tag Archives: Nature

The Price-Gouging Parasite!


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Image result for Hurricane gif

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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Image result for South Park chaos gif

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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Image result for Natural Disasters

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.

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Funny Cannabis Strain Names


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There are over hundreds of known cannabis strains around the nation.  Some strains are named for an aspect of the plant (Panama Red, Purple Urkle) while some names play off of pop culture references.  As cannabis becomes more popular among American culture, the motivation to spread out unique strains becomes more relevant than ever.  Nowadays, most new strains are discovered from crossing different strains among each other.  Many more strains have yet to be discovered and the names are getting crazier than ever!

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To dive into this topic, MakeSandcastlesNotWar decided to look at a few interesting choices for strain names.  Some strains referred to aspects of popular culture while other names were just flat out strange.  These strains are a few of many others that have a funny name for the plant.  Here are a few hilarious strain names that are out on the market:

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Alaskan Thunder Fuck:  Alaskan Thunder Fuck is just one of those strains that will make you think ‘what the fuck?’.  Originating in the Matanuska Valley area of Alaska, this legendary sativa strain possesses a relaxing yet intensely euphoric high.  It’s also known for having the ‘creeper’ effect and cause you to get the munchies after consuming.  This strain produces strong odors of lemon, pine, menthol, and skunk.  Consuming Alaskan Thunder Fuck produces happy, euphoric effects that are great for combating depression and stress.

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Herijuana:  While this strain sounds more like something you inject through needles, Herijuana does NOT pose any similarities to heroin.  Herijuana is a classic indica strain that produces THC levels of over 25%.  Consuming herijuana will cause a heavy, numbing feeling (NOT the numb feeling from heroin!)  that will keep you relaxed and sleepy.  This strain is perfect for those suffering from pain and insomnia.

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Phishhead Kush:  Before I start the description…YES, this strain IS an homage to the band Phish.  Another indica-dominant strain, Phishhead Kush produces heavy hypnotic effects that leave the mind and body feeling pure bliss.  This strain inherits this spicy, woody aroma that comes from the Afghani indicas.  Blast some of your favorite Phish records and kick back with some good Phishhead Kush!

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Zombie OG:  Ironically enough, Zombie OG will NOT transform you into some flesh-eating monster.  This indica strain should be consumed during a lazy night because of its strong sedative effects.  Zombie OG is a cross between Blackberry and OG Kush.  Consuming Zombie OG is great for treating muscle spasms, depression, and even stress.  Consuming Zombie OG would go perfect with The Walking Dead episode premiere on a Sunday night.

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Skywalker OG:  May the Fourth Day happened a few days ago, so it’s only makes sense that we add Skywalker OG into the mix.  This indica-dominant hybrid strain could take you to a galaxy far, far away…with its strong body effects such as mild tingling and numbness.  Skywalker OG is a cross between Skywalker and OG Kush that is here to rescue you from pain as well as physical limitations.  Consuming Skywalker OG will leave you feeling happy, relaxed, and euphoric that will melt away that stress or depression.

So there you have it, 5 hilariously-named cannabis strain.  One sounded similar to a harder drug (heroin!), another strain was an homage to Phish, and there was even a strain after a flesh-eating monster.  As wacky as these names were, these are definitely some go-to strains if you’re looking for something different.

I hope you enjoyed reading through some of these funny strains.  If you ever come across one of these strains, be sure to pick them up at your local dispensary!

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.

 

Saturday Quote!


To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Sunset/Silhouette Discovery at Point of Pines


After finishing a piece for MakeSandcastlesNotWar, it’s always great to unwind for a bit from work.  There are times where you just need to get far away from your laptop to explore the things around you.  You can be inspired of an idea just by going about your day.  This post was constructed with this idea in mind.

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You see this picture right here?  That right there is Point of Pines, a mere few blocks away from my apartment.  The sun was just setting, casting shadows that were reflected onto the wet sands of the beach.  A blast of yellow light brightened the area and set the course for sundown.  What followed next was something that couldn’t be explained through words.

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As the sun lowered deeper, silhouettes started forming from where I was standing.  These structures weren’t buildings anymore because they were now basic outlines.  It was then that I started seeing rectangles and triangles morphing together within one big cube/rectangle.  What looked complex before now became simple shaped structures in a matter of hours.

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The sun moved farther down and the dark blue sky was moving slowly up within the atmosphere.  From the top of the buildings, the sky turned into a golden yellow-orange color that blanketed the surrounding area of Boston.  Within my left side, the sky was darkening into a pinkish-orange hue that covered Nahant area.  Boston continued to turn a golden yellow-orange color because the sun was not ready to leave just yet.  Further out to Winthrop were more silhouettes of buildings surrounded by the sea.

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A few minutes later and the sky transformed itself to a myriad of colors.  Hues of pink, yellow, orange, green, and blue were laying upon themselves within the atmosphere.  It was then that I saw what natural art truly was.  Not art created by human beings, but art crafted by nature.  This was TRULY a jaw-dropping visual I was grateful to look at.

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I continued roaming around to see that a reddish-orange hue started to sprout up behind the John Hancock building.  The reddish-orange hue blanketed the top of the silhouetted buildings, rising higher each minute.  A blast of yellow reflected on the sand, brightening the activity happening on the water.  At one point, the wet sand and sweeping sea started mixing itself into similar colors.

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To the right of my direction was a silhouette of surrounding trees.  By looking at the object from the right perspective, you can see these trees connecting to form a certain shape.  A circle formed in the bottom left with a line extending to the right, only to come down in the end.  I was astonished to find something so extraordinary in this hustling city on the beach.

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It was then that I wandered more through the beach as the sun was setting.  More silhouettes were created as the sky was darkening into a dark blue hue.  Night was slowly creeping in, but the sun still peaked from underneath the skyscrapers and towers.  Reflections of towers painted themselves on the wet sands, which made me want to enter this upside-down reality being created.

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When looking down at the sand, the midnight blue hue crept its way in.  Street lights started brightening up the walkways.  That reddish-orange hue was vanishing from my sight, seeping away only to come back the next day.  It was time to say, “so long!” to the sun and start walking back to my apartment for the evening.

This was an INCREDIBLE experience I had watching the sun setting on the beach.  I walked outside to discover how nature forms art right from our very eyes.  Any self-respecting artist/graphic designer needs to understand how colors form around us.  From the sky to the patches of dirt on your feet, you are surrounded by a myriad of colors bursting everywhere.  It isn’t something you discover through media, but rather through what you see within your surroundings.

If you want to truly understand how colors work, you have to look closely at nature’s designs.  I recommend all artists/graphic designers to take a hike to a place of solitude where you can pay close attention to your surroundings.  Something simple like taking a stroll through the beach is enough to generate ideas.  Wherever you decide to go, it’s important to pay close attention the natural world you live in.  You could come to a point where reality and fiction wrap itself together to form a whole new world in itself.