May lights shine brighter at the end of the tunnel…
So long 2020. Time for a reset…
May lights shine brighter at the end of the tunnel…
So long 2020. Time for a reset…
As New York Governor Andrew Cuomo likes to say, we have climbed a monstrous mountain. Even though we are on the other side of it, and for quite a few weeks, there’s still no place for complacency and chance-taking.
Here below is just a chart where you could filter any states and/or counties of your interest and see how the pandemic has been wreaking the havoc. A big shout out to the New York Times COVID-19 data team, who have offered all the data for free here.
Same tool used in a project from previous life: Time Traveling Through Dramatic Urbanization in China Over Decades (ChinaFile)
TD Bank prides itself as the “human bank.” These are some of the stories, together and each in itself, that differentiate the brand through the lens of its employees and its work in the communities it serves.
Some handy projects* to elevate the city living while adding a bit of DIY fun:
Imagining side panels generating little or zero drafts, we got customized, hand-crafted acrylic or poly-carbonate sheet glass panels, for all 3 air conditioners. Crisp clear view and double pane for winter-proofing! [Over 10 hours of labor though.]
Not sure about the foam’s life expectancy, as in a couple of weeks there’s already a strip of dip along the dripping line.
It’s been quite a journey for us to finally secure a seat at one of New York City’s Citywide Gifted & Talented programs. It’s a success that has taken both hard work and luck. We are very proud for Evan Yoyo to join NEST+m and we cannot wait to see him further grow and learn while enjoying chess and other things the school has to offer.
Here below is just a cheat sheet to get an idea of some overall considerations while choosing which ones you like, or not. But there’s just so much more to what this table can present, even though it’s a good start. [Commute times below are calculated based on a Forest Hills area home location.]
Our best one-sentence advice would be: start the prep work and research as early as possible. If you can get your child into the Kindergarten of a G&T program, you have an astronomically better chance of getting in than trying first grade.
Last but not least, education is so much more than what a school can provide for children, although a good school means a lot in the equation. We know that this will be a learning journey for the whole family, and those who we will be having a role along the way. After all, it takes a village.
There is really a ton of visual pleasures out there beyond our everyday naked eye sight. (Maybe our eyes zoom and pan and focus too well, don’t they?)
Before iPhone 8 can do more amazing photography miracles, there are simple and inexpensive tools out there that will empower your already neat iPhone like those cool DSLR lenses. Above is what I got a few months ago and in this holiday season I am gonna use it to have a lot of fun. Here is a sample the iPhone took with it. Read More
November 2016 has been an eventful month in the US. Someone has made a moonshot in the most colorful presidential election. And here below are some of my moon shots, starting with the biggest full moon in almost a century on November 13, with a few variations of shutter speed, in GIF:
Now that I have a loved one in a public school already (I know, time flies), I have more space or CPU in my brain to pay attention to early education and issues related to school. It is a steep learning curve, but an enlightening one.
One of the days in my son’s first month of his PreK year, I went in to be lectured about attendance, and came back home appreciative that I went. The biggest take-away is that attendance, even at an early age like kindergarten could have striking influence over a young child’s reading competency by the third grade, at least that is what a 2011 California study finds. Here below have some fun guessing how much 5% absence or less (during both kindergarten and first grade years) will translate into young students’ reading competencies two years later.
[playbuzz-item url=”//www.playbuzz.com/michaelz14/attendance-and-literacy-for-kids” info=”false” shares=”false” comments=”false” recommend=”false”]
This year’s rainy season and floods have wrecked havoc on the city of Wuhan, which was home to 127 lakes in its urban areas. Now the city has 38 lakes remaining. Even though this many have survived the dramatic urbanization and land reclamation over the past few decades, they have most likely shrunk a great deal. With many new neighborhoods on low-lying lands that used to be lakes, the battle against floods this year is a particularly difficult one. Here below are a couple of examples viewed from space, thanks to Google Earth and those who care to find these images. [Tap on the link in the above image’s caption for original Xinhua post in Chinese language.]
Shahu Lake (or literally translated as sandy lake) used to be the second largest lake after the East Lake in Wuhan City. Since 2000, due to the encroaching real estate development and urbanization, the lake has been divided by a road and surrounded by high-rise buildings (above). Read More
Recently I took an eco-advocacy film to China. It’s called Dear President Obama, and is narrated by Mark Ruffalo. It calls for President Obama to reverse the “drill, baby, drill” on the so-called “clean” natural gas and visit many of the victims who have fallen ill in the wake of millions of fracking sites around the country. (Film trailer below)
I am a proud resident of New York, which seems to be the only state that has banned fracking in the U.S. Yet the industry has already wrecked havoc, in places like Texas that accounts for almost 30% of the national natural gas production. The scars left behind, in rectangle boxes in maps below, are disturbingly sad, to say the least:
India is too hot, literally. This, again, comes from NASA Earth Observatory:
Monsoon rains began arriving across India in early June 2016. For many Indians, it was not a moment too soon. After three underwhelming monsoon seasons, broad swaths of the country have been gripped by drought. An estimated 330 million people have been affected by depleted water supplies.
This is what it looks like at night on June 17, 2016, with much of India hotter than China’s biggest dessert in Xinjiang.
Month after month, the world’s temperature records have been reset over and over again. And NASA Earth Observatory archive has it all. First one below on the rising temperatures on a global scale over more than a century, decade by decade with latest one of 2005-2014; second one about the first artificial palm island Dubai built on a beachfront.
Another couple of pieces of gem from NASA Earth Observatory’s archive, first about the catastrophic mountaintop mining happening in West Virginia (1984-2015) and the other about deforestation (2000-2012) in the Amazon.
The state of Rondônia in western Brazil — once home to 208,000 square kilometers of forest (about 51.4 million acres), an area slightly smaller than the state of Kansas — has become one of the most deforested parts of the Amazon. In the past three decades, clearing and degradation of the state’s forests have been rapid: 4,200 square kilometers cleared by 1978; 30,000 by 1988; and 53,300 by 1998. By 2003, an estimated 67,764 square kilometers of rainforest—an area larger than the state of West Virginia—had been cleared.
It is well known that the Yellow River, a.k.a. China’s mother river, dumps billions of tons of sediment to the sea and its floods cause havoc on the people along the watershed. Yet I first heard about that China tried to engineer a re-routing of the very end of the river flow right before it reaches the sea, via this NASA Earth Observatory post:
Between 1989 and 1995, the delta became longer and narrower along a southeast-bending arc. In 1996, however, Chinese engineers blocked the main channel and forced the river to veer northeast. By 1999, erosion and settling along the old channel caused the tip of the delta to retreat, while a new peninsula had formed to the north.
The new peninsula thickened in the next five-year interval, and what appears to be aquaculture (dark-colored rectangles) expanded significantly in areas south of the river as of 2004. By 2009, the shoreline northwest of the new river mouth had filled in considerably. This may be the outcome that the engineers were anxious to achieve: the land northwest of the newly fortified shoreline is home to an extensive field of oil and gas wells. Their protection is a primary concern.
I used to awe at this genius’ work pulling off a live interactive map that shows the latest (not by minute though) winds blowing around the world. And there are actually more gems to be found here, when I read about India’s recent record breaking temperature of 51 C. Here below is in the middle of the night in Asia, when Beijing was at a cool 15.8C while most of India was approaching 40C.
For precise positioning of major cities, you can wikipedia your city of interest and pinpoint the location by modifying the URL’s location coordinates, such as “…loc=116.383333,39.916667”
For instance, if you are trying to find Beijing, you’d enter the above coordinates value at the end following “loc=” as you will find the coordinates of Beijing by clicking this on Beijing’s wikipedia page