Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Some links for education and entertainment

Nicola Griffith (a favorite author of mine) is starting an alternative publishing exercise:

Four weeks ago, I rather quixotically launched a co-operative publishing initiative. Lots of people have since been drinking the Kool-Aid *g*.

Girlhacker points to a family business that upgrades cheap Chinese pianos into something worth buying but not beyond your price range:

At the two ends of the piano-industry extreme, buyers can choose from high-end European builders who can charge $60,000 for a grand piano, or Asian companies mass-producing grands that can be had for about $10,000. Fandrich, 66, is shooting for the low middle. Starting with a new piano from China, he replaces parts and refines them by hand, selling grand pianos starting at $16,560.

Girlhacker again with a story about the success of a wildlife underpass that's helping as many as 800 deer a week survive crossing a freeway:

Herbin said the key to the project's success was the placement and design of the underpasses themselves.

"You've got to place them where the animals actually do cross so they don't have to learn a new migration route, but you also have to design them in such a way that they're not afraid of them," Herbin said.

Data from the first underpass installed in 2001 showed that the tunnel cut the number of deer killed at milepost 30 by more than half during its first year of operation.

"They did a lot of experimenting with the first underpass moving partitions around to get the proper size, height and width," Herbin said.

"And one thing they figured out was that if the deer cannot see open space on the other end, they're not going to use the underpass," she said.

Compromises make for success in Greg Hlatky's story of being laid off and finding a new job:

While still with my former company, some of the others whose jobs were to be eliminated were asked to stay on until the end of the year. This was more than a little annoying, since I myself would have liked to do the same. Yet it was a blessing in disguise that I left when I did. Of all those at my site to be cut, I'm the only one to land another job. And that was because I: 1) took a job well outside my primary experience and industry; 2) took a pay cut to do so, and; 3) was willing to relocate. With our delightful economy, God only knows what would have happened had I not been able to focus my energies on job-hunting!

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