Here’s to the end of 2011. It’s been quite a busy and eventful year. I’m pleased with how I’ve been able to keep up with posting what I’ve learned every day, even if I didn’t keep track in June (posting instead about my trip to Korea). One blogging tip I have – especially for longer term projects like my “Everyday Lessons Learned” – is to set aside time to post. Otherwise it’s easy to forget and realize that you’ve fallen behind. If you set a personal schedule of posting and set yourself to it, it’s not hard to keep a blog active.
22: This year was the first year in over 3 decades in which we sentenced fewer than 100 people to death row. From a report by the Death Penalty Information Center, as reported on NPR’s Morning Edition. Scott Burns, executive director of the National District Attorneys Association, says one factor in this is crime rates:
This year the murder rate fell to where it was in the 1960s, meaning there are fewer people to charge with capital murder. That’s an enormous drop from the 1990s — when the U.S. executed more inmates than in at least half a century.
23: Did anyone else attempt to read the dictionary as a kid? I’m reminded of my short-lived attempt to read (not necessarily memorize) every word in the dictionary when I see this list of words David Foster Wallace copied out of a dictionary. My bookmark while I read DFW’s Infinite Jest was a sheet of paper on which I wrote all the words he used that I didn’t know the meaning of.
24: Together with the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) forms the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking in the United States. It’s 3,100 mile long, and runs along part of the North American Continental Divide. A thru-hike (a complete hike of the entire trail from end-to-end) of the CDT takes around six months at a pace of 17 miles/day. Add that one to your bucket list.
25: The East Coast Greenway (ECG) is a 2,500-mile, car-free path planned to go from Calais, Maine to Key West Florida, spanning huge distances with a continuous path. Currently over 25% is already on paths free of motorized vehicles, and the rest consists of interim on-road routes while the rest of the paths are being constructed. The goal for the ECG is to link all the major cities along the way, creating a safe way to travel by non-motorized means between these places on the eastern seaboard.
26: Some of the benefits to having a green roof:
There are many benefits to a green roof including a decrease in heating and cooling costs, which in turn mitigates the urban heat island effect. Other benefits include a natural filter for rain water, an increase in the life span of the roof, a natural habitat for animals and plants and a reduction in dust and smog levels. (via ArchDaily)
27: Detroit is planning a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that will span 110 miles with these dedicated bus lanes. This would make Detroit’s BRT system the largest in the United States. (The largest in the world is currently Jakarta’s TransJakarta BRT system.) Stephanie Lotshaw at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy says that all current BRT systems in the U.S. are under 20 miles.
28: As described in the New Yorker, the Pitch Drop Experiment is the world’s longest running lab experiment, in which University of Queensland physics professor Thomas Parnell poured hot pitch into a glass funnel, tracking how long it would take for a drop to fall. It look eight years for the first drop of pitch to fall, another nine for the second drop, and so far there have been eight drops. The professor currently overseeing the experiment, John Mainstone, predicts the next drop will occur in 2013 – no one has yet witnessed the actual occurrence of a falling drop.
29: Layaway programs are regaining popularity in America with the depressed economy. These allow shoppers to make payments on the full price of a product, only getting the product once it’s paid off. However, there’s usually a $5 service fee, which means that it would typically cost more to buy something on layaway. The option of paying for things on layaway has recently returned to Walmart. Some of the appeal of layaway is that it forces you to put money aside for a specific product, rather than spending it elsewhere, especially because of the sunk cost of the service fee and the extra fee for cancellation if the shopper doesn’t make all the payments.
30: The Teapot Dome Scandal was an incident considered the greatest scandal in American politics, before Watergate. In 1922, during President Harding’s administration, the Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall accepted huge bribes from oil companies to grant them production rights without competitive bidding at Teapot Dome, an oil field in Wyoming. Fall was the first Presidential cabinet member to be imprisoned for his actions while in office.
31: Just to come back around: In 2011, Arlington
may have had its first year since the 1950s without a single murder. DC’s also experiencing a decline in murders.
For some other notes in the year-end roundup, keep reading.
Traffic to my blog grew by more than 65% over last year.
Most-read posts on Aesthetics of Everywhere from 2011:
- Everyday Lessons Learned: May 2011, Week 3
- T-money for transport and more in Seoul
- Spa Land in Centum City, Busan (and this one I just typed out quickly on my iPod)
- Seersucker Social 2011 Photos
- “Hamtdaa: Together” at Artisphere
Cheers to the New Year! Make 2012 count.