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Picking Up Trash A Good Way To Volunteer

Returning to our loft from a visit to Union Station last week, my boyfriend and I decided to check out the Meeting of the Waters fountain by Carl Milles in Aloe Plaza.

The beauty of Carl Milles' work with Union Station in the background
The beauty of Carl Milles’ work with Union Station in the background

Timidly DFS asked me if I minded if he picked up some trash while we were there. Mind? Of course not! Knock yourself out…

For the next 90 minutes we covered the two blocks of Aloe Plaza until it was clean
For the next 90 minutes we covered the two blocks of Aloe Plaza until it was clean
We quickly realized most of the trash cans were already overflowing with trash
We quickly realized many of the trash cans were already overflowing with trash
DFS collected quite a bit of trash, thankfully we found  a nearby trash can that had room
DFS collected quite a bit of trash, thankfully we found a nearby trash can that had room

A few times since he’s gone back to Aloe Plaza, and parts of the Gateway Mall to the east, to pick up more trash. He’s been looking for the right volunteer opportunity and helping clean the Gateway Mall seems to be a perfect fit.

Aloe Plaza isn't always this clean, but it looked nice when we left
Aloe Plaza isn’t always this clean, but it looked nice when we left

Picking up trash allows him to volunteer on his schedule and doesn’t require coordination with others. DFS hasn’t even lived in St. Louis for four months but already he’s making a small impact. DFS is the perfect boyfriend for me!

— Steve Patterson

 

The 21st Century Plane: Solar Impulse

The 1947 St. Louis Comprehensive Plan called for 35 airports in the metropolitan area by 1970. Yes, 35!

It is reasonable to assume that the developments in air transportation during the next few decades will parallel that of automobile transportation, which really started about three decades ago. St. Louis must be prepared to accept and make the most of conditions that will arise. Provision of the several types of airfields required must be on a metropolitan basis. The recently prepared Metropolitan Airport Plan proposes thirty-five airfields. (see plan)

This was two decades after Charles Lindbergh completed his historic flight over the Atlantic in the Spirit of St. Louis, aircraft had changed substantially:

“The Spirit of St. Louis” was designed with one thought in mind: to get to Paris. Extra fuels tanks were added and the wing span increased to accommodate the additional weight. The plane would have a maximum range of 4,000 miles, more than enough to reach Paris. One of the more innovative design decisions involved placing the main fuel tank in front of, rather than behind, the pilot’s seat. Lindbergh didn’t want to be caught between the tank and the engine if the plane was forced to land. This configuration also meant that Lindbergh would not be able to see directly ahead as he flew. It didn’t seem to trouble him much. “There’s not much need to see ahead in normal flight,” Lindbergh told Donald Hall. “I won’t be following any airways. When I’m near a flying field, I can watch the sky ahead by making shallow banks. All I need is a window on each side to see through…” If needed, Lindbergh would use a periscope attached to the plane’s left side to see what was in front of him. In his efforts to pare down the plane’s weight, Lindbergh considered every detail. Any item considered too heavy or unnecessary was left behind. These included a radio, parachute, gas gauges, and navigation lights. Lindbergh designed for himself special lightweight boots for the flight, and went so far as to cut his maps down to include only those reference points he would need. Every ounce mattered. Instead of a heavy leather pilot’s seat, Lindbergh would be perched in a far lighter wicker chair. (CharlesLindbergh.com)

The "Spirit of St. Louis" in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum
Lindbergh’s actual “Spirit of St. Louis” in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, Washington D. C., Oct 2001

In October 1947 a plane traveled faster than the speed of sound for the very first time (source).  By 1977, the Concorde could fly from New York City to Paris in just 3.5 hours (source), less than the usual 8, and much less than Lindbergh’s flight half a century earlier.

In the 21st Century the challenge is how to operate aircraft on less fuel, or even no fuel. Enter the Solar Impulse:

Solar Impulse has started to fulfill the good-citizenship role for which it was designed. The solar airplane provokes discussions amongst the highest political and economic authorities about technological solutions currently available to help them achieve the world’s agreed CO2 reduction targets. And it also allows them to tackle the problem of resistance to change, which risks locking us for too long into the dangerous and costly consequences of old habits. It is with the aim of promoting such processes of change that Europe is using Solar Impulse, to give an example of what clean technology is capable of achieving. Hence the patronage of the Presidents of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, as well as the European Commission. (Solar Impulse)

I got to see the Solar Impulse yesterday.

Just room for the pilot, the blue lighting you see was just up lights for dramatic flair.
Just room for the pilot, the blue lighting you see was just up lights for dramatic flair.
Though the plane is light, it is very wide.
Though the plane is light, it is very wide.
Members of the Solar Impulse team were available to talk with visitors.
Members of the Solar Impulse team were available to talk with visitors, click image to read about the team.

When will we be able to book a flight on a commercial solar airplane? No clue, but this effort will push development of solar technology forward. Who knows, in 20 years much more of our lives may be powered by the sun.

— Steve Patterson

 

Street Trees Must Be Planted Deep Enough the Root Ball Won’t Dry Out

The Crown Food Mart at 1515 N. 13th opened in 2009, with street trees planted on all sides. Few have survived.

Nearly every tree around the property looks like this, completely dead.
Nearly every tree around the property looks like this, completely dead.

Some will say the city is a harsh environment for street trees, the road salt and chemicals used to clear snow & ice from streets is too much for new trees to handle. Perhaps, but when half the root ball is above the level of the adjacent sidewalk the tree is going to dry out and die. If it happens to survive it will eventually bust the sidewalk as shallow roots seek water.

These trees never had a chance for survival.
These trees never had a chance for survival.

How should it be planted? Deeper!

A properly planted tree will have the root ball up to 4" below the level of the sidewalk. Source: Arlington VA, click to view larger version.
A properly planted tree will have the root ball up to 4″ below the level of the sidewalk. Source: Arlington VA, click to view larger version.

I don’t know if a contractor for the new building or the city planted these trees, whomever it was did a poor job.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers Say Botanical Garden & Zoo Are Favorite ZMD Institutions

Last week readers selected their favorite two institutions in the Zoo-Museum District (original post) .

Missouri Botanical Garden, June 2011
Missouri Botanical Garden, June 2011
St. Louis Zoo
St. Louis Zoo

Here are the results:

Q: Which TWO (2) institutions in the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District are your favorites?

  1. Missouri Botanical Garden 98 [31.61%]
  2. Saint Louis Zoological Park 94 [30.32%]
  3. Saint Louis Art Museum 77 [24.84%]
  4. Missouri History Museum 22 [7.1%]
  5. Saint Louis Science Center 18 [5.81%]
  6. Unsure/No Answer 1 [0.32%]

The botanical gardens are my favorite, but I’ve spent a lot of time at events at the history museum. I haven’t been to the zoo in 20 years, but I’ll go again this year.

– Steve Patterson

 

Readers Rarely Rent Cars

ABOVE: The Enterprise Rent-A-Car location on Washington Ave, just east of Jefferson Ave
ABOVE: The Enterprise Rent-A-Car location on Washington Ave, just east of Jefferson Ave

Nearly two-thirds of readers last week indicated they never or rarely rent a car (original post).

How Often Do You Rent A Car?

  1. Never 18 [23.38%]
  2. Rarely 32 [41.56%]
  3. Occasionally 22 [28.57%]
  4. Constantly 5 [6.49%]

St. Louis-based Enterprise is the largest in the rental car business:

Enterprise Rent-A-Car was established in St. Louis, Missouri in 1957 by Jack C. Taylor. Originally known as “Executive Leasing Company”, in 1962 Taylor renamed the company “Enterprise” after the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, which he served on during World War II. The current company was formed in 2009 following Enterprise’s 2007 acquisition of Vanguard Automotive Group, the parent company of National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car. (Wikipedia)

But this month a new company started offering rental car service in Dallas’ DFW airport that may shake up the industry:

Booking a reservation is as easy as picking a location (for now, just DFW), and selecting a date and time for pickup and return. Users can specify their flight details, but it’s not necessary. This information can also be added on Silvercar’s website, including profile information or reservation info. But since using the service requires the app for unlocking the vehicle, potential customers shouldn’t try to book anything unless they have an iPhone or Android phone and can download the app.

Yes, the process is based around a smartphone app. Most likely anyone that can afford $110/day to rent an Audi A4 is carrying a smartphone. Many car sharing services also use the customer’s smartphone to unlock the car so extending it to airport rentals is a logical next step.

— Steve Patterson

 

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