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The Joy Of Wearing Out A Piece Of Gear

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A lot of things felt like they were on the verge of breaking down in the six months of training for my first 100-mile ultramarathon, and a couple things broke down for real—most often my running shoes, which, let’s face it, are really only good for about 300 miles of running, no matter who makes them. As I ratcheted my running miles up throughout last summer, I began to destroy shoes at a very fast pace.

I ground down the outsoles, ripped the uppers on the insteps, wore through the lining just below my ankle where my feet occasionally rub together, and sometimes finished a 20-mile trail run wondering how I managed to gouge out a piece of the midsole. Some Saturdays, I started my 20-some-mile trail run with a brand-new shiny pair of shoes, only to finish with them filthy, soaked, and already downtrodden after only a few hours’ use out of the box. It was all oddly satisfying. Expensive, but satisfying. Especially since my feet, ankles, and knees lasted through the summer that destroyed all those shoes.

I have used a lot of gear, and broken some of it through misuse and mistakes (who among us has not accidentally ripped a tent or a puffy jacket sleeve). Sometimes I’ve only used a piece of gear once because I basically bought the wrong thing or didn’t end up using a certain thing for a trip (i.e. I really would have liked that bug net on my head, but left it behind at the last minute). But I have truly worn out only a couple dozen items: gloves whose palms have finally sprouted holes, a chain bike lock whose outer covering was finally shredded after a decade of use, a pair of bike wheels that wore out after thousands of miles, locking carabiners that got worn almost halfway through, and a couple old puffy jackets that I thought were still fine but then saw in a photo of myself that the front had turned from orange to a sort of grimy yet shiny brown.

I once snapped a steel bike frame through sheer hard use. It was my first real urban bike, and I rode the shit out of it, probably cranking way too hard on it sprinting away every time a stoplight turned green. One day, I noticed it was shifting on its own as I pedaled, and I looked down to see the downtube completely separated from the bottom bracket. I thought maybe it was some sort of defect that took 29 years of the bike being alive (and a couple years of me mashing the pedals) to manifest—but then I met two other people who had broken steel bikes in similar ways, through years of pedaling. You never want to break your favorite bike, but having to retire it because you used it until it finally died is way better than breaking it in an accident.

Wearing something out gives you a feeling that you’re doing something right. A garage full of gear doesn’t necessarily mean you do anything besides buy gear, but a garage (or closet) full of beat-up stuff means you’re using it, that the dream you had when you acquired that piece of gear was fulfilled in some way. And going through all that dirty, dinged-up, worn-through stuff can be as gratifying as looking through all your old photos of your adventures.

Maybe you tell yourself the bike, or the skis, or the climbing rope had a good life, did its job, and then had to be put out to pasture. And that’s so much more appropriate than it gathering dust and eventually having to be gotten rid of because it’s outdated. And when you do get rid of it, you try to not think of all the big plans you had for it on the day you bought it.

Nobody’s ever going to give you a trophy for all the fun days you had using a backpack, or a bike, or a pair of hiking boots—so those worn-out pieces of gear are the closest you’ll probably ever get to having a mantelpiece that says “I Squeezed Every Bit Of Joy Out Of This Thing.”

—Brendan

The post The Joy Of Wearing Out A Piece Of Gear appeared first on semi-rad.com.

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lizamu
1 day ago
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New York, New York
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National Park Service Board Resignations a Red Flag for Public Lands

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Grand Teton National Park. Photo credit: Hunter Day photography

Grand Teton National Park. Photo credit: Hunter Day photography

Republished with permission from The Mountaineers

The recent resignation of nearly the entire National Park System (NPS) Advisory Board raises serious concerns about the Department of the Interior, the office in charge of overseeing about 500 million acres of our national public lands.

10 out of 12 NPS advisory board members quit, citing their frustration that Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke refused to hold a single meeting with them.

In this case, where there’s smoke, we think there’s fire. All signs point to the Public Lands Heist, a movement to undermine federal lands in favor of privatization and extractive industries.

The NPS advisory board was dismayed that they were not consulted on a number of national park decisions in 2017, such as proposing to raise entrance fees, rescinding a ban on plastic water bottles, and reversing climate change policies. In her resignation letter, departing board member Carolyn Hessler Radelet, wrote, “From all the events of this past year I have a profound concern that the mission of stewardship, protection, and advancement of our National Parks has been set aside.”

The NPS advisory board resignations are the latest in what many fear is a rapidly emerging anti-park agenda from the current administration: Secretary Zinke is yet to nominate a NPS director, and the Department of Interior announced they would nearly triple entrance fees at many national parks – a move that would deter public access, while failing to make a dent in the parks’ maintenance backlog. Most recently, the Interior failed to provide clear guidance on how the government shutdown would affect national parks.

First established in 1935, the NPS advisory board is tasked with providing guidance to the National Park Service and the Secretary of the Interior. Without an NPS advisory board, the federal government can’t designate new national historic or natural landmarks.

In addition to the NPS, the Department of the Interior oversees eight other agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Other agency boards are facing similar freeze-outs.

Scot Braden, a member of the Bureau of Land Management Rocky Mountain resource advisory council, said his panel has been unable to meet for over a year. “Secretary Zinke has said that local input is important for BLM to consider, and yet these councils, which provide just such input, have been sidelined,” he said. Zinke disbanded the Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science altogether.

While advisory panels are left on the back burner, Secretary Zinke has stayed busy, slashing two national monuments and targeting places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas drilling.

Ignoring the boards tasked with representing the public’s interest - decreasing public input on public lands management - is definitely a tactic of the Public Lands Heist. And reducing public input is just one part of the Heist that’s on the rise. Here’s a quick break down of what to look out for in 2018:

THE PUBLIC LANDS HEIST IN 2018

Expect to see as many different tactics as possible employed towards the attack on our public lands, including:

  • Attacking bedrock conservation laws
  • Prioritizing unchecked resource extraction at the cost of public access
    • There have been numerous bills and executive actions towards this end, one of the most recent being the inclusion of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the Tax Bill that passed in late December. The tax bill calls for two lease sales within ten years, effectively making it illegal not to explore drilling in there. This Newsweek piece exploressome of the complexity of this issue.
  • Rolling back public input in land management decisions
    • With many agency positions still vacant, the recreation and conservation community simply does not have contacts to work with at these agencies, or we are working with staff who are responsible for numerous jobs. This makes partnering with our land managers increasingly difficult, from Forest Service districts to national policy.
  • Chronically underfunding public lands in an attempt to create bad user experiences that squelch citizen support
  • Significant administrative rollbacks on public lands and environmental administrative protections
    • This New York Times piece outlines the 60 environmental rules that the administration reversed in 2017. A significant number directly affect public lands, from rules affecting our National Parks and National Monuments and an important planning rule that would have advanced public input on BLM lands.

Keep an eye out for more signs of the Public Lands Heist in 2018. And let’s work together to keep public lands in public hands!

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lizamu
24 days ago
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New York, New York
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The Not Yorker

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Not Yorker 01

Not Yorker 02

The Not Yorker is a blog collecting cover art rejected by the New Yorker. If you’re an illustrator who’s had a cover rejected, they’re soliciting submissions. (via the morning news)

Tags: art   illustration   magazines   The New Yorker
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lizamu
69 days ago
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The Next Front in NYC’s Fight Against Discrimination: Algorithms

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(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

As more cities embrace big data, algorithms play a growing role in the day-to-day activities of civic life, determining things like which school a child will attend or whether a person is likely to be allowed out of jail with bail. But all data comes from human sources, and humans are, of course, biased. A new bill passed Monday by New York City Council aims to correct some of those innate biases and make sure the city’s computerized systems are, in fact, fair.

The bill would establish a task force to monitor the algorithms used by municipal agencies, Tech Crunch reports. It currently awaits the mayor’s signature, and is being supported by the New York ACLU.

“Flawed code can … further entrench systemic inequalities,” the organization wrote in a recent release. “The algorithms used in facial recognition technology, for example, have been shown to be less accurate on black people, women and juveniles, putting innocent people at risk of being labeled crime suspects.”

A 2016 ProPublica study found that software used across the country to make bail and sentencing decisions were biased against black people. The tools are designed to determine the likelihood of future criminal activity, but the predictions were correct only 20 percent of the time.

The task force will write a report that explores whether given systems disproportionately impact certain groups, like the elderly, immigrants or the disabled. It will also examine how people should be informed as to whether they’re being assessed algorithmically and how those systems should be documented and archived, among other things. It would need to be formed within three months of the bill’s signing, and according to the bill include “persons with expertise in the areas of fairness, accountability and transparency relating to automated decision systems and persons affiliated with charitable corporations that represent persons in the city affected by agency automated decision systems.”

As Tech Crunch’s Devin Coldewey puts it, “this wouldn’t just be a bunch of machine learning experts and a couple of lawyers.”

The bill sets a welcome precedent for other cities, where leaders often struggle with how to regulate their data systems. It could also dovetail with efforts like Data for Black Lives, which seeks to build bridges between chief data officers and the black community regarding issues like displacement and economic opportunity.

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lizamu
69 days ago
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Nab the Whimsical Woodstock Tower House for $1.2 Million

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Should we ever find ourselves with over a million bucks burning a hole in our giant pocket, we would fall all over ourselves to shove that pile of cash at the owner of this property and beg them to please, take our money.

The house, which was recently featured on design site 6sqft.com, was built by Woodstockian artist John Kahn who spent 15 years building the quirky house with reclaimed materials like redwood, slate, copper, and airplane aluminum. Kahn has since since relocated to Easter Island, which means that some lucky buyer is going to live in this magnificent house one day…maybe it will be you?

Fun fact: Kahn was a friend and collaborator of Muppets creator Jim Henson, and he built ‘Fraggle Rock’ touring company sets. We knew there was a reason why loved this house so much.

3 Tower Lane, Woodstock (Keller Williams)

The post Nab the Whimsical Woodstock Tower House for $1.2 Million appeared first on Upstater.

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lizamu
266 days ago
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RT @CMichaelGibson: Determining if an image is a Chihuahua or muffin is a tough problem in artificial intelligence pic.twitter.com/aXUQ4KPfgM

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Determining if an image is a Chihuahua or muffin is a tough problem in artificial intelligence pic.twitter.com/aXUQ4KPfgM



Posted by CMichaelGibson on Sunday, May 14th, 2017 11:53pm
Retweeted by pmarcas_likes on Monday, May 15th, 2017 2:05am


1549 likes, 1149 retweets
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lizamu
283 days ago
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New York, New York
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1 public comment
samuel
284 days ago
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I'm dog sitting a chihuahua named Magia and all day this is all I could think about.
The Haight in San Francisco
duerig
283 days ago
Some of those muffins really do look like chihuahuas. It is uncanny.
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