Skateboarders Are Saving Your City

It’s fun. It’s cathartic. It’s great for team-building, self-esteem, your mental health and frequently, a decent workout. I’m talking of course about skateboarding. It has even passively impacted other areas of life previously unbeknownst to the common urban dweller. There’s so many beautiful urban spaces in cities like like Tokyo, New York City, Dallas, Berlin, Los Angeles and I could go on and on for days. Simply put, the best cities to skate in, are also the best cities to live in — CityLab reports:

After-school skate programs in Colorado and Dayton, Ohio, are proving to be therapeutic for young people with challenges such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Skateboarding’s informal, non-competitive nature normalizes failure—skaters practice a trick hundreds of times, building resilience and perseverance. In Dayton, which has seen the worst effects of the U.S. opioid crisis, these programs can disrupt the toxic peer groups that can lead to substance misuse, and establish good role models instead.

Cities that aren’t the most walkable (look at you L.A.) gets a bad rapport, but the citizens certainly know how to assemble and appeal. There’s a lot to learn from Los Angeles. The same ethos that keeps Los Angeles locked into an ever-evolving urban jungle, is also the engine that keeps urban development in check. Upsetting that balance can mean the difference between a highway dividing a neighborhood, or a brand new bus station. Skateboarding can teach us a lot about DIY and teamwork. The skateboarding communities positive and often progressive ethos could be adopted in communities as a model for fighting for inclusivity and preservation of neighborhoods:

Academics Sharon Dickinson and Chris Giamarino have critically reviewed the tactics skateboarders use to protect the spaces they practice in from being shut down or redeveloped, to understand why some campaigns have been successful while others have failed. DIY or guerrilla regeneration can be applied, alongside more conventional approaches. In Los Angeles, for example, skaters succeeded by appealing to municipal priorities relating to creativity and entrepreneurialism, and presenting their use of the space as convivial and inclusive.

Next time you see a (laughably impossible to enforce) no skateboarding sign in a public square, know you’re in a good place.

Summerland Peninsula Returned to Penguins, Suburb is Erased

Besha Rodell for The New York Times:

The “penguin parade” has been a major attraction since the 1920s, when tourists were led by torchlight to view the nightly arrival of the birds — the world’s smallest penguin breed, with adults averaging 13 inches tall — from a day of fishing and swimming.

For much of that time, the penguins lived among the residents of a housing development, mostly modest vacation homes, in tight proximity to cars and pets, as well as ravenous foxes. The penguins’ numbers fell precipitously. But in 1985, the state government took an extraordinary step: It decided to buy every piece of property on the Summerland Peninsula and return the land to the penguins. The process was completed in 2010.

The birds are now thriving. There are about 31,000 breeding penguins on the peninsula, up from 12,000 in the 1980s. Phillip Island Nature Parks is the most popular wildlife tourist destination in the state of Victoria, drawing 740,000 visitors in 2018. And late last month, a gleaming symbol of that success opened to the public: a $58 million visitor center, a striking star-shaped building with glass walls that look onto penguin burrows.

The penguins are alright! 🐧💕

This is the first time in a very long time, I’ve come across a positive environmental story. Make sure to checkout the entire piece at The Times. There’s incredible photography, and it’s such an uplifting tale. It’s proof-positive that when we come together, invest in long-term preservation efforts, we can make a lasting impact protecting what matters most to us — our shared home.

The Chandrayaan-2 Lunar Mission Successfully Launches

Jeffrey Gettleman and Hari Kumar for The New York Times writes:

The mission was relatively inexpensive in space terms, costing less than $150 million — less than it cost to make the 2014 film “Interstellar.”

But Chandrayaan-2 will take much longer to reach the moon than the relatively straight shot made by the Apollo missions, which cost billions (the presence of humans added to the price tag).

The Indian orbiter will conserve fuel by making ever-widening orbits around Earth before being captured by the moon’s gravity and pulled into lunar orbit.

This launch was a historic leap for India and the ISRO (India Space Research Organisation). This was the second attempt, two weeks ago, the launch was scrubbed at the last minute. The last Lunar mission the ISRO spearheaded, was the Chandrayaan-1, and if you need reminding — it was a colossal success and the entire science community of Earth benefitted from their findings. Generally speaking, the Chandrayaan-1 discovered water on the Moon. It used infrared spectrometry to detect water on the side of the Moon that faces away from us here on the third rock from the sun.

Photo from The New York Times

Chandrayaan-2 includes a rover, a lander, and an orbiter. The rover will collect samples for analysis. Given the fact that rovers sent to planetary realms typically outlive their lifespan, the possibility of sending a rover to the Moon is truly thrilling.

Who Knew a Clothes Line Could Be So Controversial?

Michelle Slatalla for the Wall Street Journal writes:

But these days, clotheslines lovers are fighting back, Mr. Lake said. At least 19 states (including California, where I live) protect a “right to dry” with laws that prevent municipalities and homeowners’ associations from outlawing laundry lines.

It’s sad that clotheslines have become a cause of community disputes, because laundry used to connect neighbors, said museum curator Lissa Rivera. Digging through the archives of the Museum of the City of New York, Ms. Rivera recently discovered a trove of early 20th-century photos of clotheslines crisscrossed above courtyards. “Those clotheslines were a way of knowing your neighbors, because you would have to make arrangements to share a line,” she said.

Wow. Unbelievable. People in California are having to fight for a right to dry. That makes me so sad.

My grandmother continues to air-dry laundry on her clothesline. To this day. She rarely uses her actual machine dryer. I never really thought much about the clothesline culture until after reading this story. I figured many still do it, but I suppose it’s dwindling. I mean, hanging clothes up to dry outside is a seriously zen exercise. It’s good for the planet. But, the best part about it? Your clothes will last longer. They won’t fall apart as fast.

But, what a tragedy to see homeowners associations are wasting breadth, fighting over this. Of all the things they should be debating amongst themselves — HOA’s are getting upset over clotheslines? What the fuck. Let people air-dry their clothes.

Buenaventura, Colombia Will Be Exorcized Via Helicopter

The Guardian:

He told local radio: “We have to drive the devil out of Buenaventura, to see if we can restore the peace and tranquility that our city has lost due to so many crimes, acts of corruption and with so much evil and drug trafficking that invades our port.

“We want to go around the whole of Buenaventura, from the air, and pour holy water on to it to see if we exorcise and get out all those demons that are destroying our port, so that God’s blessing comes and gets rid of all the wickedness that is in our streets.”

Colombia’s army is reported to be providing the bishop with a helicopter for the aerial exorcism during the city’s annual patron saints’ festivities.

Buenaventura, on Colombia’s Pacific coast, was named as the country’s most violent place in 2014.

Yeah, I’m sure sprinkling a few gallons of some water by air, onto the city will help everyone.

ICE Prepares to Raid Undocumented Immigrant Families

Caitlin Dickerson and Zolan Kanno-Youngs for the New York Times reports:

Mr. Morgan then directly lobbied Mr. Trump to move forward with the raids. He is now the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, another arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

In a tense meeting with White House officials on June 21, two days before the raids were scheduled to begin, Mr. McAleenan again outlined the challenges of the operation, including the separation of families and the logistics of housing them until they can be removed. If undocumented parents are found to have children who are United States citizens, for example, ICE agents will need to wait with the children in a hotel room until a relative in the United States can claim them.

Homeland security officials also worried that many of the families that the administration had hoped to detain might have left the addresses known to ICE after Mr. Trump tweeted the agency’s plans.

Anyone working in government who has contributed in any way to the organized raids of undocumented immigrants is despicable. It’s sickening, plainly morally bankrupt, and repugnant. These are people like you and I. It’s heartbreaking to see organized raids on undocumented families (these are non-threatening immigrant families seeking asylum here mind you).

Historically speaking, when these sorts of raids tragically happen, a lot of people will die. Mainly because these organizations do not care about their lies. The deaths of these children and families will be the lasting legacy of the GOP and President Trump. There is also an eerie parallel with the Kristallnacht raids. Both are targeting immigrants. Both involved authorities moving persons to border concentration facilities.

If you are reading this, and you are residing in the United States illegally, do not open your door this weekend. If you need legal representation or help, please contact RAICES here.


Example of Kintsugi repair using the Crack method.


Kintsugi art dates back to the late 15th century. According to legend, the craft commenced when Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa sent a cracked chawan—or  tea bowl—back to China to undergo repairs. Upon its return, Yoshimasa was displeased to find that it had been mended with unsightly metal staples. This motivated contemporary craftsmen to find an alternative, aesthetically pleasing method of repair, and Kintsugi was born.

There are three types of joinery available in Kintsugi:

  • Crack – using gold resin, lacquer or dust to fill
  • Piece method – there may be a missing ceramic altogether, and is replaced entirely with gold/lacquer
  • Joint call – ceramic piece replacement via a non-matching fragment and gold lacquer to achieve a patchwork effect
Piece-method example:
Joint-call method:

(Life) While Traveling

This Staff Pick hit me right in the feelers.

It’s a short film from Joan Bosch (he/him), a Spanish filmmaker “based between Madrid and Barcelona.” From the short film’s description on Vimeo:

“(Life) While Traveling” is a short film about the way we look to the world when we travel. It’s about colors, shapes, textures and details that surrounds us every day, but we only realize when we are far from home.

Gorgeous, emotional, and even a tad nostalgic. Really motivates me to take stock of what we have here, on Earth. Joan really hit me in the feelers on this one. Enjoy.