Resolve to be involved


Source: thefunnyplace.org

If you are like me and are deeply disturbed and worried about the direction your country or the world community are headed, please consider becoming more involved in 2017.  

There are numerous organizations doing good work at all levels on a vast array of topic/issues, so it is not hard to find one of interest. Here locally, my wife and I are advocating for the shutdown of the Line 5 Pipeline under the Mackinac Straits, supporting additional bike trails and lanes throughout the region, and promoting peace, as well as efforts which improve social justice and equity in our  community. 

Below is a poem I penned last weekend for the debut issue of a local liberal newsletter. It suggests that to truly effect change in our society, everyone of us must become more involved instead of just complaining. Namaste! 

“Resolve to be Involved”

by Rick Brown

Many days we may complain

as the news brings us down

but nothing is resolved 

through inaction or a frown

Taking a stand is important

as a therapy for the soul

by finding kindred spirits

with a vital common goal

None of us can be Gandhi

nor a Martin Luther King

but everyone can contribute

with the skill-set that they bring

The energy that’s engendered

as part of something great

drives our constant efforts

with the love we generate 

History waits for nobody

as time moves ever onward

but with avid participation

we can all pay it forward

Our community is calling

whether it knows this or not

for joined voices of reason

to help bring change about

As the new year approaches

and 2016 is absolved

please add a resolution

to become more involved. 

2016

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The Great Lakes doomsday scenario pipeline


Source: michganradio.org

Oil Spill Impact Map from Enbridge Line 5 – Source: michganradio.org

If you thought the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota was bad, boy do we have a doozy of one for you here in Michigan. A 63-year old submerged twin pipeline (Enbridge #5), that was built with a 50-year lifespan carries approximately 23 million gallons of oil a day under the Straits of Mackinac! Yes, the Straits of Mackinac, that cherished five (5) mile wide water body that links the crystal clear, clean waters of Lake Michigan with Lake Huron.

Worse yet, even though a number of violations of the 1953 contract between the State of Michigan and Enbridge (pipeline owner and operator) have been identified, our un-illustrious leadership in Lansing has thus-far refused to shut it down. It is a monumental disaster of epic proportions just waiting to happen and our state leaders are dithering in Flint-style denial mode. Their paralysis threatens one of Earth’s most precious natural resources: one-fifth of its fresh water, when safer alternate routes are readily available.

unnamedIf this scares you as much as it does me and many others across this land, please consider joining the fight to Shut Down Pipeline #5. Here are links to a few of those organizations who are fighting the good fight against Big Oil.

You may also simply text the word “Enforce” (without quotes) to 231-480-4112 and sign a petition asking the State of Michigan to enforce its agreement with Enbridge. You will be asked for your name and email address.

Thank you! Peace.

Posted in Advocacy, civics, climate change, energy, environment, geography, health, history, humanity, infrastructure, land use, logistics, nature, politics, pollution, product design, rivers/watersheds, tourism, transportation, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

White privilege depicted in a single map


The following map depicts the original route of the Dakota Access Pipeline in a dashed line running north and east of Bismarck-Mandan. At the behest of these overwhelmingly white communities, who were ironically concerned about the potential impacts the pipeline would have on their drinking water, its route was changed to the west and south of the city through areas largely populated by Native Americans. 

Needless to say, the drinking water concerns of the Standing Rock Native American community did not receive the same level of concern that was afforded the residents of Bismarck-Mandan. Hence, thousands of Standing Rock residents and their supporters are and have been protesting this clearly blatant example of white privilege and environmental racism. 

Map source: Carl Sack via huffpost.com

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Canada’s mega-suburbs by land area


  1. Caledon (Toronto), ON = 265.7 square miles
  2. Mississippi Mills (Ottawa, ON-QC), ON = 200.6 square miles
  3. Mirabel (Montreal), QC = 187.5 square miles
  4. Greater Napanee (Kingston), ON = 178.1 square miles
  5. Levis (Quebec City), QC = 173.5 square miles
  6. Becancour (Quebec City), QC = 170.2 square miles
  7. Lakeshore (Windsor), ON = 169.0 square miles
  8. Abbotsford (Vancouver), BC = 145.0 square miles
  9. Milton (Toronto), ON = 140.2 square miles
  10. Gatineau (Ottawa, ON-QC), QC = 132.4 square miles
  11. Pimpton-Wyoming (Sarnia), ON = 123.1 square miles
  12. Surrey (Vancouver), BC = 122.2 square miles
  13. Clarence-Rockland (Ottawa, ON-QC), ON = 115.0 square miles
  14. Erin (Toronto), ON = 115.0 square miles
  15. Mississauga (Toronto), ON = 112.9 square miles
  16. Georgina (Toronto), ON = 111.1 square miles
  17. Innisfil (Barrie), ON = 109.7 square miles
  18. Essex (Windsor), ON = 107.3 square miles
  19. Mono (Toronto), ON = 107.3 square miles
  20. Halton Hills (Toronto), ON = 106.7 square miles
  21. New Tecumseh (Toronto), ON = 105.9 square miles
  22. Vaughn (Toronto), ON = 105.6 square miles
  23. Brampton (Toronto), ON = 103.0 square miles
  24. Maple Ridge (Vancouver), BC = 103.0 square miles
  25. Leamington (Windsor), ON = 101.1 square miles
  26. Chilliwack (Vancouver), BC = 101.0 square miles
  27. Laval (Montreal), QC = 95.4 square miles
  28. Kingsville (Windsor), ON = 95.3 square miles
  29. Pickering (Toronto), ON = 89.4 square miles
  30. St. Jean sur Richelieu (Montreal), QC = 87.2 square miles
  31. Markham (Toronto), ON = 82.1 square miles
  32. Whitchurch-Stouffville (Toronto), ON = 79.7 square miles
  33. Burlington (Hamilton), ON = 72.0 square miles
  34. Amherstburg (Windsor), ON = 71.7 square miles
  35. Delta (Vancouver), BC = 70.9 square miles
  36. Fort Erie (St. Catharines- Niagara Falls), ON = 64.2 square miles
  37. Lincoln (St. Catharines-Niagara Falls), ON = 62.9 square miles
  38. Terrbonne (Montreal), QC = 59.8 square miles
  39. Whitby (Toronto), ON = 56.6 square miles
  40. Oshawa (Toronto), ON = 56.3 square miles
  41. Oakville (Toronto), ON = 53.6 square miles
  42. Niagara-on-the-Lake (St. Catharines-Niagara Falls), ON = 51.3 square miles

Source: en.wikipedia.org

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America’s largest mega-suburbs by land area


 The following list identifies those American suburban cities that as of late last week occupied a land area of at least 50 square miles – water area is not included in the area calculation.  Also not included are “towns” as defined in the Northeast, unincorporated places, or townships. Those metro areas with the most suburban cities represented on the list include:
Los Angeles = 15
Dallas-Fort Worth = 9
Phoenix = 8
Hampton Roads = 4
Kansas City = 4
Houston = 3
Las Vegas = 3
Oklahoma City = 3
Duluth = 2
 –
Any additions and/or corrections are most welcome.
 –
  1. Suffolk (Hampton Roads), VA = 440.2 square miles
  2. Buckeye (Phoenix), AZ = 375.3 square miles
  3. Chesapeake (Hampton Roads), VA = 340.8 square miles
  4. Virginia Beach (Hampton Roads), VA = 249.0 square miles
  5. Cusseta (Columbus), GA = 248.7 square miles
  6. Boulder City (Las Vegas), NV = 208.5 square miles
  7. California City (Bakersfield), CA = 203.5 square miles
  8. Goodyear (Phoenix), AZ =  191.5 square miles
  9. Scottsdale (Phoenix), AZ = 183.9 square miles
  10. Hibbing (Duluth), MN = 181.8 square miles
  11. Norman (Oklahoma City), OK = 178.8 square miles
  12. Peoria (Phoenix), AZ = 174.4 square miles
  13. Aurora (Denver), CO = 154.7 square miles
  14. Bunnell (Daytona Beach), FL = 137.5 square miles
  15. Mesa (Phoenix), AZ = 136.5 square miles
  16. League City (Houston), TX = 132.8 square miles
  17. Fernley (Reno), NV = 122.1 square miles
  18. Marana (Tucson), AZ = 121.5 square miles
  19. Eloy (Phoenix), AZ = 111.5 square miles
  20. Casa Grande (Phoenix), AZ = 109.7 squre miles
  21. Henderson (Las Vegas), NV = 107.5 square miles
  22. Surprise (Phoenix), AZ = 105.8 square miles
  23. Babbitt (Duluth), MN = 105.7 square miles
  24. Cape Coral (Fort Myers), FL = 105.2 square miles
  25. Palmdale (Los Angeles), CA = 105.0 square miles
  26. North Las Vegas (Las Vegas), NV = 101.4 square miles
  27. Plymouth (Boston), MA = 96.5 square miles
  28. Arlington (Dallas-Fort Worth), TX = 95.8 square miles
  29. Palm Springs (Los Angeles), CA = 94.2 square miles
  30. Lancaster (Los Angeles), California = 94.0 square miles
  31. Palm Coast (Jacksonville), FL = 89.9 square miles
  32. Denton (Dallas-Fort Worth), TX = 88.0 square miles
  33. Oak Ridge (Knoxville), TN = 85.5 square miles
  34. Edmund (Oklahoma City), OK = 85.1 square miles
  35. Port Arthur (Beaumont), TX = 82.9 square miles
  36. El Reno (Oklahoma City), OK = 80.0 square miles
  37. Independence (Kansas City, MO-KS), MO = 78.3 square miles
  38. Riverside (Los Angeles), CA = 78.1 square miles
  39. Fremont (San Francisco-Oakland), CA = 76.7 square miles
  40. Port St. Lucie (Fort Pierce), FL = 75.5 square miles
  41. Rome (Utica), NY = 74.9 square miles
  42. Northport (Sarasota-Bradenton), FL = 74.8 square miles
  43. Overland Park (Kansas City, MO-KS), KS = 74.8 square miles
  44. Rio Rancho (Albuquerque), NM = 73.4 square miles
  45. Apple Valley (Los Angeles), CA = 73.3 square miles
  46. North Charleston (Charleston), SC = 73.2 square miles
  47. Hesperia (Los Angeles), CA = 73.1 square miles
  48. Victorville (Los Angeles), CA = 72.8 square miles
  49. Plano (Dallas-Fort Worth), TX = 71.6 square miles
  50. Grand Prairie (Dallas-Fort Worth), TX = 71.4 square miles
  51. Irving, (Dallas-Fort Worth), TX = 67.8 square miles
  52. Wildwood (St. Louis), MO = 66.4 square miles
  53. Irvine (Los Angeles), CA = 66.1 square miles
  54. Texas City (Houston), TX = 63.8 square miles
  55. Lee’s Summit (Kansas City, MO-KS), MO = 63.4 square miles
  56. Central (Baton Rouge), LA = 62.2 square miles
  57. McKinney (Dallas-Fort Worth), TX = 62.2 square miles
  58. Joliet (Chicago), IL = 62.1 square miles
  59. Frisco (Dallas-Fort Worth), TX = 61.8 square miles
  60. Concord (Charlotte), NC = 60.3 square miles
  61. Olathe, (Kansas City, MO-KS), KS = 59.7 square miles
  62. San Bernardino (Los Angeles), CA = 59.2 square miles
  63. Twentynine Palms (Los Angeles), CA = 59.1 square miles
  64. Garland (Dallas-Fort Worth), TX = 57.1 square miles
  65. Adelanto (Los Angeles), CA = 56.0 square miles
  66. Murfreesboro (Nashville), TN = 55.5 square miles
  67. High Point (Greensboro-Winston-Salem), NC = 55.4 square miles
  68. Palm Beach Gardens (West Palm Beach), FL = 55.1 square miles
  69. Ventura (Los Angeles), CA = 55.0 square miles
  70. Cary (Raleigh-Durham), NC = 54.3 square miles
  71. Decatur (Huntsville), AL = 53.7 square miles
  72. Midlothian (Dallas-Fort Worth), TX = 53.7 square miles
  73. Santa Clarita (Los Angeles), CA = 52.7 square miles
  74. Conroe (Houston), TX = 52.6 square miles
  75. Hurricane (St. George), UT = 52.1 square miles
  76. Bluffton (Savannah, GA), SC = 51.3 square miles
  77. Moreno Valley (Los Angeles), CA = 51.3 square miles
  78. Hampton (Hampton Roads), Va = 51.0 square miles
  79. Gastonia (Charlotte), NC = 50.5 square miles
  80. Long Beach (Los Angeles), CA = 50.3 square miles
  81. Chattahoochee Hills (Atlanta), GA = 50.2 square miles

Sources: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_area for most of those exceeding 70 square miles in area and en.wikipedia.org for each individual city or list of cities by state for the rest of the list.

Posted in cities, demographics, fun, geography | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Suburban USA “cities” that occupy more land area than the core city


Source: qside.eu

The following list identifies those suburban cities in the USA that occupy more land area than the core  city in the same metropolitan area. Any additions or corrections are most welcome.

Please note that “towns” as found in the Northeast and townships are not included. In addition, only the land area of these cities were considered – water area was not included.

Bakersfield, California = 142.2 square miles

  • California City = 203.5 square miles

San Francisco, California = 46.9 square miles and Oakland, California = 55.8 square miles

  • Fremont = 77.5 square miles

Denver, Colorado = 153.0 square miles

  • Aurora = 154.7 square miles

Hartford, Connecticut = 17.3 square miles

  • Bristol = 26.4 square miles

New Haven, Connecticut = 18.7 square miels

  • Meriden = 23.8 square miles
  • Milford = 22.2 square miles

Daytona Beach, Florida = 58.4 square miles

  • Bunnell = 137.5 square miles

Fort Myers, Florida = 49.0 square miles

  • Cape Coral = 105.2 square miles

Fort Pierce, Florida = 20.7 square miles

  • Port St. Lucie = 115.9 square miles

Melbourne, Florida = 39.6 square miles

  • Palm Bay = 68.8 square miles

Sarasota, Florida = 25.9 square miles

  • Northport = 74.8 square miles

Columbus, Georgia – 217.2 square miles

  • Cusseta = 248.7 square miles

Portland, Maine = 21.3 square miles

  • Sanford = 47.8 square miles
  • Saco = 38.5 square miles
  • Biddeford = 30.1 square miles
  • Westbrook = 17.1 square miles
  • South Portland = 12.0 square miles

Boston, Massachusetts = 48.4 square miles

  • Plymouth = 96.5 square miles

Duluth, Minnesota = 87.4 square miles

  • Hibbing = 181.8 square miles
  • Babbitt = 105.7 square miles

St. Louis, Missouri = 61.9 square miles

  • Wildwood = 66.4 square miles

Albany, New York = 21.4

  • Saratoga Springs = 28.4 square miles

Las Vegas, Nevada = 135.8 square miles

  • Boulder City = 208.5 square miles

Utica, New York = 17.0 square miles

  • Rome = 74.9 square miles

Providence, Rhode Island = 18.5 square miles

  • Warwick = 35.5 square miles
  • Cranston = 28.6 square miles
  • Attleboro, MA = 26.8 square miles

Burlington, Vermont = 10.3 square miles

  • South Burlington = 16.5 square miles

Norfolk, Virginia = 54 square miles

  • Suffolk = 400.2 square miles
  • Chesapeake = 340.8 square miles
  • Virginia Beach = 249.0 square miles

Source: en.wilipedia.org

    Posted in cities, density, geography, history, infrastructure, land use, planning, spatial design, sprawl, Statistics, transportation, urban planning | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

    “Arrival” is elegant sci-fi


    Source: aceshowbiz.com

    I was privileged to see the movie Arrival this afternoon. Unlike many science-fiction genre movies that too often rely on viseral action sequences to hold their audience’s  attention, Arrival is an elegant film that makes you think while also capturing your imagination. 

    Think of this movie along the lines of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), or Contact (1997). It is a gorgeous movie with sound and emotions as key components. Add in a lovely score and superb acting by the three primary stars – Amy Adams (can you say Oscar?), Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker and you have a must see movie and a worthy Oscar contender in numerous categories. Bravo!!!

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