Ninja vs. Pirates?

Smells Fear

Wired’s Geek Dad blog dives deep into an age old debate – Who wins in a fight, Ninja or Pirates? My two cents – Ninja. No doubt.

Check out Master of the Flying Guillotine if you question my logic…

This Week’s Sweet Links – The Universe… and possibly the best burger in the Universe

The (Known) Universe

The Accidental Empire of Fast Food. Click to read more…

Shake Shack

My friends call me, Jimmy “The Grid”

Leave the gun... take the turbine

With the growing popularity of wind energy, there’s been a huge influx of wind farm companies anxious to profit from the demand, but who knew the Mob would get in the game? Apparently, Italian finance police have arrested two businessmen on charges of fraud in the wind energy sector. Anti-mafia prosecutors in Sicily are launching an investigation of their own. Scorsese himself couldn’t have made this up. I guess this just goes to show that the business of wind has officially gone mainstream.

Big name corporations are offsetting energy, and wind power for the home is catching on now, too. However unless you have William Kamkwamba’s rare mix of initiative and smarts (see previous post Good Windmill Hunting), you’re going to need some (legit) help… we get ours from the people at the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF).

Since 2003 BEF has been helping us offset the energy used to make our products and power our buildings. You can check out our website for more details and numbers, but the point here is that with BEF we’ve not only found a partner we can trust, we’ve found a partner with the same ultimate goal in mind – Do Better.

As a non-profit entity they’re a perfect mix of innovation and integrity. Check out what the Department of Energy has to say about this year’s Green Power Supplier of the Year.

The Train, is leaving
(via flickr)

(via flickr)

Last week’s post about transit systems and the Copenhagen conference got me thinking. Building an effective subway or urban train system would be really, really hard. Just imagine the scope of work involved with planning, staffing, funding, etc. Not to mention it’s going to take YEARS to even get started, and possibly DECADES to finish. And when you are finished… who’s to say that the new system will function properly and encourage people to use it?

Recent history shows us American cities that have gone the distance with such projects, have somewhat low ridership. Especially when compared to other countries.

So how would you do it?

The basics:

– It has to be accessible…

– It has to be affordable (for the riders, and the municipality funding it)…

– It has to be convenient – is it near where I live, where I shop, can I make it to work on time, can I get home on time…

– And maybe, just maybe, it should also be aesthetically pleasing…

(via flickr)

(via flickr)

NYC’s subway may be the best example of how mass transit is done right. Chicago’s L and DC’s Metro Rail fit in there as well. But as good as they are on a functional level, aesthetically, there’s not much going on. And that’s ok; the people catching those trains aren’t used to anything else. But as you start to move into the suburban sprawls of the West where people are more familiar with MetroCars than they are MetroCards, aesthetic considerations might make a lot of sense. At least from an “encouraging to ride” perspective.

Have a look at some of  the “aesthetic steps” others are taking with transit… pretty impressive (emphasis on pretty).

This Week’s Sweet Links – Waves, Windows and… is that the WhiteWave Bat Signal?




WhiteWave Bat Signal?

The train, is approaching

Denver Light Rail

Buzz from the COP15 climate change conference is everywhere this week, including right here in our own backyard. In fact Denver Mayor, John Hickenlooper, was asked to participate in a panel discussion at the conference focusing on the role of public transportation in reducing carbon emissions.

I know, I was a little surprised to hear that too. Nothing against the Mayor’s office, it’s just that when you think of superior urban mass transit systems, Denver doesn’t necessarily “make the train”. Ours isn’t the only American city that shares this perception. But that doesn’t mean these cities can’t do something about it.

Bad puns aside, Denver has actually come a long way with its transit system. Just 14 years ago there was basically nothing, where as today the Denver Light Rail for example, is pretty robust. And new plans to expand will offer up an additional 122 miles of track and nearly 60 new stations. It’s cool to see something like that, which is so close to home, in the mix at the Copenhagen conference.

Speaking from a WhiteWave perspective, the more they beef up the current light rail and bus systems around here, the more jazzed we’ll all be thanks to the Eco Pass we receive upon being hired. A huge incentive because a good portion of our headquarter employees don’t live within biking or walking distance to the office. And regardless of your personal views on global warming, I don’t hear anyone disagreeing with the idea of Gas Savings = Cash Savings.

I also don’t hear anyone disagreeing with the idea of giving public transportation outlets a little flavor…

Team’s got structure

portraitI, for the record, am one that enjoys a little social interaction at work. This might simply be an excuse to do less work, or even more likely my Attention Deficit kicking in, but sitting quietly for more than a half hour makes me a little nuts. I crave contact. Which is why this article from piqued my interest.

The questions posed are intriguing – What the heck do we have against actually talking to each other at work?

Your guess is as good as mine, but I think it’s cool to see that architects aren’t only into building buildings… they’re into building relationships through the long lost art of human interaction. No doubt equaling positive work results. Not to mention positive environmental results by saving energy, space and wasted cube materials.

I like your style, architects… and your stylings.

Is a sustainable package really sustainable if it doesn’t work?

intrnlDelightPackaging is a serious component of all products. It needs to carry or contain the product. It needs to communicate the product’s ingredients. It needs to tell the company’s story. It needs to be visually compelling. And on top of all of that, if it’s going to make a company relevant to society, it needs to be sustainable. In other words, packaging needs to work on a lot of levels.

This keeps package designers and product engineers really busy trying to figure out how to tie all this stuff together. If a package works, but is expensive and inefficient to make, that’s not a solution. If a package is sustainable, but fails to function, that’s not a solution. If a package design looks good, but fails to keep the product intact or safe, that’s really not a solution.

It’s kind of like playing Jenga, which is why when someone gets it right it’s worth talking about. Method is a great example. Recently, they switched to 100 percent post consumer recycled packaging.

At WhiteWave, we recently had to grapple with these thoughts and concerns in redesigning our International Delight brand’s bottles. Previous designs didn’t work as well as we would have liked. They leaked. And more and more over the past few years, we recognized that the package designs didn’t meet our own emerging sustainability standards. We wanted to do better, so we started using sustainable plastic that requires less energy and water to create. The result? A 30 percent reduction in our carbon footprint vs. the previous design… and the bottle doesn’t leak anymore. Which is nice.

Are you going to eat that?

BIG NUMBERS don’t have much appeal anymore. Let’s face it; in a world of mega-million dollar jackpots and mega-billion dollar deficits we’ve become desensitized to the shock value of a good million, billion, trillion stat. So hats off to the good people of GOOD and their ability to visually convey this tragic information in a pretty compelling yet simple way.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

May, 2009 in America – more than 34 million people can’t afford to eat.

That’s pretty scary. Even scarier that this kind of news usually falls under the radar. Even if it is on your radar, unless you have Bono-like funds and humanitarian celebrity (Irish accent included) you’re not feeding 30-plus million people. Good news is you don’t need to save the world. Just focal on the local, man. Odds are people in your neck of the woods are already doing some great things.

Our local food bank for instance – Community Food Share (CFS) – is run by an amazing group of people (We actually hope to have someone from CFS contribute to this blog in the near future), who help keep less fortunate families in the Boulder, Colo. area fed. Just last year they delivered more than five million pounds of food.

WhiteWavers volunteer at CFS off-and-on all year long, and every spring we participate in the Compete to Beat Hunger CFS Corporate Challenge, a campaign that brings local businesses in our area together to raise money and volunteer time at the food bank. It’s designed as a contest to see who can raise the most/volunteer the most, but obviously the real winners are the ones that won’t have to worry about their family’s next meal. The real “win” for us I think is that in volunteering our time and money locally, we actually get to see the people we’re helping, and we have a window into the perspective of the struggles they face. And thanks to the people at CFS that window stays open all year long.

Check out this site to see what people are doing to fight hunger in your area…

We make our own pickles

I know Google’s Café 150 is pretty amazing, but I’m going to go on record here and say that ours has to be in the running for second best corporate eatery in the world (only second because Google peeps eat for free).

Welcome to the Wave Café, one perk (probably the best one) of working at the WhiteWave Foods headquarter office in Broomfield, Colo. We’ll highlight the Café quite a bit on The Grazing Mind, but here’s your first view into the reason nobody orders out come meal time.

Salad Bar


Deli Special

We’re in the food business, so what we eat is key to how we approach our work. And thanks to Bon Appétit who manages the cafe, we get a daily reminder of the importance of not only eating healthy, but eating sustainably. This article which recently ran in the Denver Post can give you a little more detail into Chef Scott and team’s dedication to their craft. And like I said, stay tuned for more from the Wave Café…