Use your voice, less electricity to save mountains

Cranky Cindy wrote about mountaintop coal mining, and the environmental disaster is causes.

Universalist fun fact: the much-reported town deluged by coal ash, Harriman, Tennessee, was the site of the church extension project of the Young People’s Christian Union, a predecessor to Unitarian Universalist young adult ministries.

Not-so-fun fact: coal is not clean. It pollutes the air, and in mining districts it pollutes the water and soil.

And if you use grid electricity in the United States, you’re probably a part of the system that allows this to happen. That includes the power that runs my computer. So I try to use less, and learn more about mountaintop mining. Next comes the advocacy.

Last week, I attended the Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Francisco for work. One of the sessions I attended was about online mapping tools. One of the presenters was from, which uses maps and video to make the connections between mountaintop mining and your electricity.

Learn those connections. Use less electricity. Advocate for cleaner technologies and mining communities.

Evacuation!? No, a really useful bus map

A little lunchtime blogging, following a quick review of the news feeds. (DCist)

Seems Metro has issued emergency evacuation maps keyed to each exit for each Metrorail (subway) station. See each station page — like Dupont Circle — to download the PDFs. In each one, you see a map and landmarks for what’s in a quarter-mile walk, plus keys to bus routes with numbers and destinations. A great resource for those who want to learn the Metrobuses and other carriers — presumably to substitute for the rails in an emergency, but why stop there? — and for tourists. (I wonder if there was money for an evacuation tool, but not rider education, thus the branding.)

They remind me of “legless” version of the “spider” maps that Transport for London produces to integrate their rail and bus service. (The legs are schematic representations of the bus routes outside the immediate environs of the rail station.)

I’ve wanted these here for ages, and now we have a first step even if they come under an alarming wrapper.

Later. Uh-oh. Looking at the Dupont Circle map, I see some of the stops are a misleadingly off. Like bus stops A, B and P; perhaps others. The Cineplex Odeon is out of business and it’s “Washington Club” not “Club Washington.”

New Harmony (Windsor) Universalist Church on Google Street View

I caught a rumor that there was a Google Maps Street View camera vehicle in D.C. If anyone knows if that’s true, please leave a comment.

It’s about time. I’m a little miffed that some very out of the way places have been filmed but not Washington, D.C. Case in point? I found New Harmony Universalist Church, in the Windsor settlement near Loganville, Georgia on Google Maps Street View. A charming now-dormant church that comes to life — if nothing’s changed — on the fourth Sunday in September for homecoming. Metro Atlantans should make a note — but take good food, since the shared dinner is among the best you’ll ever have.

At least now you won’t have a hard time finding it, or knowing what the building looks like. Oh, and “go before you go” — New Harmony (Windsor) had nothing but an outhouse the last time I was there.

These are the emerging congregations

Since a picture — or map — is worth a thousand words, I’ve created a Google map showing where all the emerging congregations in the Unitarian Universalist Association are. I’ve tried to put the most recent details with each congregation, but if you see an error, please make a comment.

View Larger Map

You can also view this page in Google Earth if you have it installed on your computer.

Google Map of Emerging UUA Congregations

P.s. Want to guess what my next project is?

Visualize World Unitarians and Universalists

At Day Job, we love data visualization. I do. Many people do. So much easier to share, learn and appreciate information when the data is expressed in a chart, map or tag cloud.

Noodling around for a Google map for a post to come out tomorrow, I ran across a Google map of “Unitarians and Universalists Around the Globe” (with a KML file to add to Google Earth, if you use it) from the UUA International Resources Office — so props for this useful resource.

Which may take the shine off of a similar project I have in mind, but so be it. More later, when I have something to show.

Unitarians and Universalists Around the Globe

Relly's walk

David Warnock is as glad for Google Maps (in beta) being released for the UK as I was for their release in the US. (Thanks for the tip.)

Now I can fulfill my whistful wish and show you the relative distances between (the site of) Whitefield’s now lost London (Moorfields) Tabernacle where early Universalist James Relly — whom John Wesley later called an antinomian — started his career as a Calvinist Methodist and the Sandys Row Synagogue, which is in the building formerly used by Relly as a Universalist chapel.

To remind, John Murray and his first wife, Eliza, also made that walk from one to the other.

Google gives walking directions. About twenty minutes as a moderate walking pace.

Relly ‘s and Murrays’ walk

20 July 2006. Or try this Google Maps link.

London's bus campaign for Washington

Bus-loving people will have already seen the London ‘My other car is a bus — new advertising campaign — I only wish I could get one of the bumper stickers!

That said: Washington’s buses could use some more practical help, especially with the capacity of the Metrorail system being stretched towards breaking.

We all know that rail is “sexier” than bus, but that’s were the room for growth is — affordable growth anyway — and buses are more convenient and practical for a large segment of the populus than the rails anyway. (Neither home nor work is less than a twenty-minute walk from a rail station, but there’s a bus that goes very close from one to the other. I would have to drive if it wasn’t for the bus.) Time to treat them with some respect.

We could be more like London: encourage pride in our strikingly extensive and relatively modern system and provide more information for potential users. WMATA buses are quite difficult to use if you don’t already use them. It took far too long to get free system maps printed (and as it is, you have to ask for them at subway stations). The experimental downtown route direction maps were printed too fine, without adequate direction, and are already outdated. Weekly bus passes are sold at too few many shops. Bus stops are inadequately marked. There are several problems, and they are all resolvable.

A good starting palce would be to adopt London-style “spider maps.” These combine realistic local neighborhood maps (centering on a rail station) with stylized radiating bus routes. The format is based on the famous London Underground map. Hubby and I found the concept invaluable in our visit last year, and once implemented the bare details can be printed at the individual stops — far more helpful than the truth-bending minute-by-minute, long-distance-train-style schedules currently posted.

Since a picture is worth more than my feeble description, here’s a link to get some spider maps to review.

Spider maps by borough