Return Burn


I’m not much of a online shopper, but time restraints in early December led to ordering boots online. They were expensive, ordered directly from the manufacturer and arrived promptly. They might have been out of box for two minutes, tried them on, didn’t like the fit, registered a return online, printed a pre-paid return label, dropped them off at UPS a few days later. An effortless process, out of sight, out of mind, not out of pocket another cent.

A few days later my husband mentioned an article he read explaining what actually happens to online returns. Nowhere in internet retailer fine print does it say “returned goods will be incinerated or dumped in a landfill”. My heart sank, grappling with realization I’d unknowingly contributed to a shadowy behemoth environmental calamity.

Roughly 40% of online purchases are returned. In Canada alone, an estimated $46 billion in goods were returned in 2019. That’s a 95% increase in the last five years, a staggering spike resulting in drastic measures. Bottom line – major retailers can’t be bothered to inspect, re-package or return to inventory the mountain of customer returns. To do so would require scores of additional employees, bottom lines deem it cost effective to incinerate or dump most apparel returns in landfills.

Bracketing is common practice of savvy online shoppers – free returns mean buying a small, medium and large, keeping what fits and returning the other two guarantees a garment that fits. How many know returned garments are dumped in landfills?

Upscale retailer Burberry and retail brand H&M admit to incinerating merchandise in order to maintain brand perception. Perish the thought “wrong people” could diminish their brand if clothing was donated to charity. Not only is the practice disturbing, environmental impacts are staggering.

Had I known my ill fitting boots were destined for the dump, chances are I’d have donated them to charity or consigned them to a second hand store.

 

Entre Ciel Et Terre – Between The Sky And Earth


I can’t think of a better way to welcome the new year than gorgeous timelapse from Adrien Mauduit at Night Lights Films. Timelapse photography is a immensely powerful artform, one capable of reinventing personal definitions of this place called Earth. Few do it better than Adrien Mauduit. Happy New Year from Notes.

In the words of Adrien Mauduit at Night Lights Films –

“There are only a few regions in the world where the skies meet the Earth with almost no distinction between the two. La Palma in the Canary islands is one of them. ‘Entre Ciel et Terre’ literally means ‘Between the sky and Earth’ and was a perfect fit here. While most of the volcanic island is isolated under a thick layer of clouds, the tip of its crater often punches through it and allows you to be one step closer to the Heavens. At an altitude of about 2300 meters above sea level you feel so far removed from any kind of civilization especially because of the cloud inversion. The air is thin and pristine and the living conditions are harsh but that’s the reason why the ORM (Observatory Roque de Los Muchachos) -operated by the IAC (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias) and part of the European Northern Observatory, was built up there. The summit of La Palma’s caldera benefits from dry and clear skies almost year round with almost no light pollution to disturb it, and only rare Calima (this dusty wind coming from the Sahara desert). It’s safe to say that the ‘Isla Bonita’ is one of the top places in the world to observe the northern hemisphere’s night sky!

The purpose of this short was to capture that special place from a different perspective. I really wanted to give the audience sort of a confusion as to where they are because that’s precisely the feeling you get when you look up at the stars from the mountains. You somehow lose sense of any orientation as if you were lost in the immensity of the universe! One image that I had in my head to describe La Palma’s summit was Asgard or Mount Olympus, where all the elements are united and blend together divinely. Even life found a way to survive in this environment bombarded by high-energy rays during the day and battered by cold winds at night. One highlighted species is the fascinating and mind-boggling Tajinaste flower. Also called Tenerife Bugloss or tower of jewels, this docile and resilient endemic plant can endure extreme drought. I included it in the movie because it looks majestic and prehistoric. It really adds something special to the special atmosphere I wanted to convey, especially when the milky way galaxy and the sea of clouds move in the background! By tracking the night sky or displaying the sequences upside-down I was able to give that impression of the Earth floating and rotating in the void of the cosmos. The unusual but innovative close-up views of some parts of the milky way (including the core, Rho Ophiuchi or Cygnus) moving behind the operating telescopes of the OMC helped me give that only human dimension to the movie. The use of an astro-modified camera also enabled me to almost get the full range of colors a DSLR can pick up on single frames from nebulae.

I already traveled to La Palma island in November 2017 but I really wanted to shoot there again for several reasons. First I really wanted to get more shots of the core region that would be less spoiled by light pollution than the ones I recently took on Tenerife. Secondly I desperately wanted to meet the extremely talented photographer Alyn Wallace (check him out: alynwallacephotography.com) and do a collaboration with him on the island. Thirdly I am still on my way of perfecting the novel art of deep-sky time-lapse and I wanted to reshoot some sequences that didn’t give satisfying results in the past. Finally I wanted to personally experience the Spring vibe of the island when all the plants are blooming and give that sweet smell to the air. I am absolutely thrilled to have met all my expectations (and more!), and I really believe the results look stunning!

Everything was recorded with the Canon 6D Baader modified, the Sony a7s, the Sony a7rII and a variety of bright lenses ranging from 14mm to 300mm. I used the Lonely Speck Pure Night and Matt Aust Light pollution filters to reduce light pollution and increase details, and also the Vixen Polarie to track the stars and get cleaner shots. Syrp Genie 3 axis system was used for motion control. All post production was made in Lr with the special timelapse plus plugin, Sequence for mac, TLDF, and final production was made in FCPX. I hope you like the movie as much as I liked shooting and processing it and I thank everyone of you for your support. All content is of course copyrighted AMP&F (except sountrack licensed through Envato Market), and no footage can be used in any way without the author’s permission. Please contact me for media and purchase inquiry. Please share and comment if you liked the video and follow me for more videos like this one! More at adphotography-online.com.”

Tesla Cybertruck


Ponder Cybertruck – electric powered truck unveiled this week by Tesla bobble-head Elon Musk. Take a moment, rattled brains are temporary. Once you realize this isn’t a Mad Max or Starship Trooper movie prop, it’s okay to laugh out loud. No, that isn’t a wheelchair ramp – Tesla thoughtfully created Cyberquad, companion ATV for  environmentally aware off-road electric vehicle enthusiasts. WTF!!!!

Clearly Tesla took a collective acid trip, nothing else explains the absurdity of Cybertruck.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Cybertruck

Water, No Ice


Last night a client asked for water, no ice. Seems she disapproved of Pellegrino served at the bar. No problem, I’ll be right back. Oh, you want to come with me? Have it your way. Following me to the kitchen, she watched as I turned the faucet to run cold water. Her jaw went slack, unable to support quivering lips on a face now drained of colour.  Horrified, she mustered “you only have tap water?”. “Excuse me” I replied, handing her a glass of water, no ice. “I can’t drink that” she sputtered, “I need bottled water”. Propriety screamed “easy now, be cool, you’re a professional”. Rather than snap “are you thirsty or not?”,  politest admonishment ahead of “what’s wrong with you”, I smiled, shrugged and replied “there’s bottled juice at the bar”.

Water, no ice lady’s delusion isn’t unique. Convenience, accessibility, marketing and collective apathy sustain bottled water dependency. Why no ice, because it’s made from tap water?

Society resides in a plastic bubble. Insulated from common sense by convenience, consumers take the path of least resistance. Bolstered by marketed delusions, society dwells on plastic bottles and deems the contents crystal clear. Water, no ice lady doesn’t know 93% of all bottled water contains micro-plastics. Nor is she aware of Canadian law as it pertains to drinking water.

Canadian tap water is regulated by Health Canada which sets guidelines for potentially harmful contamination. Municipal water sources are tested constantly to assure quality. Bottled water is another matter – legally defined as “food”, it falls under jurisdiction of the Food and Drugs Act. Translation – “Aside from arsenic, lead and coliform bacteria, the act does not set limits on specific contaminants but says simply that food products cannot contain “poisonous or harmful substances” and must be prepared in sanitary conditions.” Bottom line, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspects water bottling plants – on average once every 3 years. Bottled water producers claim strict adherence to testing practices, legally they’re not obliged to make results public.

With the exception of “spring” or “mineral” water printed on labels, water producers aren’t required to reveal their water source. The Canadian Bottled Water Association claims less than 8% of water bottles in Canada contain municipal water sources. In the United States roughly 45% flows straight from the tap.

“In the U.S., Nestlé’s Poland Spring water, which is not sold in Canada, was the subject of a class-action lawsuit that alleged the company was mislabelling the water as “naturally purified” spring water from “pristine and protected sources… deep in the woods of Maine,” when it fact it was groundwater being drawn from man-made wells, some of which, the lawsuit alleged, were at risk of contamination.” – Kazi Stastna, CBC News

Ponder the link below –

https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/bottle-vs-tap-7-things-to-know-about-drinking-water-1.2774182

Water, no ice lady is a cautionary tale. Bottled water is unregulated, unethical, unhealthy and undeniably unscrupulous.

In plastic bottle news – earlier this week Justin Trudeau held a press conference to announce a nation wide ban on single use plastics by 2020. All good until a reporter asked what Trudeau’s family did to reduce plastics. Ponder his cringe worthy response –

 

 

 

Noctilucent Timelapse by Adrien Mauduit


Noctilucent clouds are a weather phenomenon unique to summer months at latitudes between 50 and 70 degrees north and south of the equator. Inhabiting the mesosphere at altitudes of 75-86 kilometers, science regards noctilucent as highest clouds in Earth’s atmosphere. Too faint to be seen in daylight, there’s good reason why they’re known as luminous or night shining clouds. Noctilucent clouds can only be illuminated by sunlight below the horizon at astronomical twilight when lower levels of the atmosphere are in Earth’s shadow. Learn more at – https://www.almanac.com/news/weather-news/it-came-outer-space

For immediate noctilucent gratification, ponder noctilucent perfection by Adrien Mauduit of Night Lights Films –

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC0CLzCpM6nuLSAi1JNBjkA

197 Myths, Ice Melt And Conservative Apathy


 

Remember when wannabe president Trump tweeted –

How about Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, Republican chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, tossing a snowball in February 2015?

“God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains.”

“The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous,” he said.

Inhofe mocked Obama for saying climate change was a greater threat to Americans than terrorism. He spewed lists of terrorist atrocities and enemy nations, accusing the Obama administration of trivializing national security threats in favour of climate propaganda. Inhofe accused liberal news media of using climate propaganda to create fear.

Trump blames China, Inhofe calls on God – how does a reasonable person crack these nuts? Visual aides?

Image courtesy – https://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/4/graphic-dramatic-glacier-melt/

Stunning video documentation?

Gone are the days when skepticism demanded verifiable truth. Collective denial is a modern reality perpetuated by numskulls with money, power and political agendas oblivious to ramifications of climate apathy. That said, I stumbled upon a list of 197 climate myths at Skeptical Science. I challenge anyone to find a more complete, user friendly resource –

https://skepticalscience.com/argument.php

 

“Bee”hemoth Wallace Lives


In January 2019 natural history photographer Clay Bolt captured images of Wallace’s Giant Bee. Considered one of the 25 “most wanted lost” species by Global Wildlife Conservation’s Search for Lost Species initiative, Wallace’s Giant Bee hadn’t been seen in 38 years. Thirty eight years is a long time to miss Wallace’s 6 cm wingspan, science considered the species extinct. Bolt said –

“It was absolutely breathtaking to see this ‘flying bulldog’ of an insect that we weren’t sure existed anymore.

To see how beautiful and big the species is in real life, to hear the sound of its giant wings thrumming as it flew past my head, was just incredible.”

Discovered in 1858 on the Indonesian island of Bacan by British entomologist and  namesake Alfred Russell Wallace (1823-1913), the last sighting of Wallace’s Giant Bee (Megachile pluto) occurred in 1981 when American entomologist Adam C. Messer documented six nests in Indonesia. Two specimens found in February and September of 2018 sold on eBay without a twinge of lost species conscience. Clay Bolt’s capture, imaging and release of a single female giant bee affirm the tenacity of waning species.

Elusive Wallace behemoths build nests inside active tree dwelling termite colonies. With  impressive jaws, females collect and spit out balls of tree resin, forming protective compartments within termite domain. Giant bees depend on low lying forests for resin and termite colonies. Little as we know about resin ball spitting tree dwelling termite colony squatter Indonesian giant bees, science begs us to realize how remarkable it is to photograph one.

 

See the source image

Wallace’s giant bee dwarfs the common honey bee in size. Image © Clay Bolt/claybolt.com.

https://earthsky.org/earth/found-worlds-biggest-bee-wallaces-giant-bee?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=7db7df99b0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_02_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-7db7df99b0-393970565