Saturday, August 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

This transportation is REALLY alternative

Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race is tomorrow. This is the one where entirely human-powered vehicles (which also must have an "art" aspect) compete to master a course around the inner harbor and go through sand, mud and water in addition to city streets.

This transportation is REALLY alternative

The Green Racer begins its conquest of Federal Hill.
The Green Racer begins its conquest of Federal Hill.

Not much time to blog today as I'm getting geared up for the Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race tomorrow. This is the one where entirely human-powered vehicles (which also must have an "art" aspect) compete to master a course around the inner harbor and go through sand, mud and water in addition to city streets. If you're around that area, come out and say hi. Pictured is our vehicle (made almost entirely out of trash and bamboo) as it was last year, though now it will be a little more streamlined.

If, however, you didn't make plans to be in Baltimore on Saturday, you can still get in on our local version here in Philadelphia, which is coming up in two weeks, and which you'll remember from this post. The Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby does not have the water entry that adds such an imposing and entertaining level of difficulty to the design of the craft, but it's still a great time and a great way to see how alternative means of transportation can be fun and functional at the same time.

UPDATE 5/4: OK, as my co-pilot remarked at the end of Saturday's event, "in a way, this was the best year yet for the Dumpster Divers. Aside from the one thing in the water, everything worked perfectly throughout." And its true our vehicle's steering, which had been a problem last year, and other elements worked flawlessly. There was just the one thing with our water entry, which was the vehicle tipping over and winding up completely upside down and having to be hauled out and cobbled back together so we could complete the race. The good news, though, is that since our water-entry fiasco was so "interesting," we brought home the coveted "Golden Flipper" Award. See this page for more details.

About this blog
Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to energy@phillynews.com.


Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.


Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.


Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.


Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.


Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...


Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.


Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.


Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.


In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man





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