31 December 2013

Green library @Berkeley, CA

West Branch Library @Berkeley, CA (2013) photo by Richard Friedman

Berkeley has a new neighborhood library--and it's green!  So green, in fact, that it is a 'zero net energy building'--which means that it generates more electricity than it uses. This building reflects California's goals of having all new residential construction be zero net energy by 2020 and all new commercial construction by 2030.  The hope is that these buildings will help to stave off climate change.

For more information about the building, click here.
For more photographs, click here.

30 December 2013

Race & Environment Post-doc @Brown University

The Cogut Center for the Humanities and the Department of Africana Studies at Brown University invite applications for a two-year Mellon post-doctoral fellowship in Race and the Environment. The successful candidate will interrogate the integration of race and inequality with Environmental Studies and environmental justice. Ideally, s/he will work (or at least teach) transnationally. Applicants must have received their degrees from institutions other than Brown within the last five (5) years. The appointment will begin on 1 July 2014, or as soon as possible thereafter. Receipt of the Ph.D. is expected by the time of appointment.

Interested candidates should send a letter of application, syllabi and/or detailed descriptions of courses s/he has prepared (and/or a list of possible courses), a curriculum vitae, a writing sample (no more than 30 pages) and three letters of reference, by 15 February 2014 via Interfolio <apply.interfolio.com/24124>. Brown University is an EEO/AA employer. Women, people of color and international scholars are encouraged to apply.

good luck to those who apply!

28 December 2013

enterprise vs zipcar

Since Enterprise entered the car sharing game in DC a few months ago, I've started cheating on Zipcar.  (I became a member of Hertz on Demand, too, but when the 1st car I reserved had a dead battery, I broke it off.)

So I thought I'd do a comparison of Enterprise and Zipcar to see which one wins out.

Cost Enterprise is the clear winner.  Because they're the new game in town, they are waiving the application fee, the annual membership fee and are only charging $5 per hour (half Zipcar's price).

Mobile App:  It's a tie.  Zipcar sends text messages 30 minutes before your reservation ends enabling you to extend your reservation via text. Enterprise sends email messages confirming reservations.  Overall, reserving a car w/ Zipcar is more user-friendly.  However, Enterprise does have some nice features, including an easy way to extend reservations on the front end.

Keys:  It's a close call but I have to give it to Zipcar for ease of use.  Zipcar keeps keys on a chain attached to the dashboard.  So you can get in and quickly put the key in the ignition.  It also means that the dangling chain can rattle on your leg and/or break off.  Enterprise keeps keys in a key box in the glove compartment.  I find it a pain to lean over and retrieve the key. 

Service:  Enterprise is still working out some kinks to make sure its representatives are up to speed.  I've had a couple of instances when reps were unable to walk me through simple fixes. Zipcar, because of longevity, wins this one.  But they both often keep you holding way too long on the phone.

Wayfinding: Enterprise wins this easily. They have clearly marked off and branded their parking spaces with their logos.  I have not had a single problem with delivery trucks and other vehicles parking in or using the designated spaces.  That was not the case when Zipcar had those spots.

Who's the winner?  I have to give it to Enterprise, mainly because of the low cost.  However, in the car sharing game, monogamy is not the answer. I continue to use Zipcar so that I'll have more options.  (Now if only I can get Car2go to accept American Express!)

Which one do you prefer?