Free Books Campaign Has Donated Over 6,000 Books
Sofia Akel, a writer and cultural historian, has taken it upon herself to ensure that reading is not a privilege, but a right for everyone. Her non-profit organization, the Free Books Campaign, has given away over 6,000 books by authors of color to people who cannot afford them.
Akel’s love for books started at a young age when she would go to the library near her home to read. However, as she grew up, she realized that not everyone had the same access to books that she did. Many people couldn’t afford to buy books, and libraries in some areas did not have a wide selection of diverse authors.
This realization led Akel to form the Free Books Campaign in the UK in 2020. The non-profit organization collects books by authors of color and distributes them to people who cannot afford to buy them. The organization is funded by donations, and all the books are given away for free.
The Free Books Campaign has been a great success, having given away over 6,000 books so far. The non-profit’s website also allows people who cannot afford a particular book to email them with the name of the book they want. If the organization has the funding, they will buy the book and send it to the person for free.
Akel’s work with the Free Books Campaign has been recognized and appreciated by many people. She strongly believes that reading is a right and not a privilege and that everyone should have access to diverse authors and books.
The Free Books Campaign has also gained the attention of several organizations, and Akel has been invited to speak about her work at several events. She hopes that her organization will inspire more people to donate books and help spread the joy of reading to those who need it the most.
Booroolong Frog Population Bounces Back
Australia’s endangered Booroolong frog has been the target of intensive protection efforts in recent years. For this unusual amphibian, there is finally some positive news after decades of population decline.
In Australia, the number of Booroolong frogs has decreased below 5,000 over the previous forty years. Human activity has caused habitat degradation and fragmentation, and imported predators and diseases have put them in danger. Recent conservation initiatives have demonstrated that it is feasible to stop this decline and save the Booroolong frog from extinction.
The destruction of the Booroolong frog’s natural habitat has been one of the major causes of its decline. One of the most important aspects of attempts to restore the frog’s habitat has been the removal of willow trees, which have occupied many waterways in Australia. It has been demonstrated that willow plants can cause erosion and sedimentation, which can harm the frogs’ habitats for breeding and foraging.
Recent flooding occurrences have also contributed to the increase in the Booroolong frog population in addition to habitat restoration. Australia’s east coast received significant rainfall in 2020, which led to widespread flooding. While many towns were devastated by these floods, the Booroolong frog population benefited from them. Many breeding events were noticed in areas where effective breeding had not occurred for many years because of the floods, which provided a perfect breeding environment for the frogs.
Programs for captive breeding and the release of captive-bred frogs into the outdoors are also part of the Booroolong frog’s conservation efforts. These initiatives have improved genetic diversity in the community and increased the number of Booroolong frogs in the wild.
In spite of these encouraging advancements, the Booroolong frog still confronts formidable obstacles in its struggle for survival. The effects of disease, habitat loss, and climate change continue to endanger the species. The Booroolong frog can recover and flourish once more, though, thanks to recent successes in conservation efforts.
Amsterdam Creates Sleek Underwater Parking Garage for 7000 Bikes
Amsterdam created an underwater parking garage for up to 7,000 bicycles – how cool is that? They are known for their innovative approach to urban planning and sustainable transportation, and the underwater bicycle parking garage is no exception. It was built near Amsterdam’s central railway station to meet the city’s ever-increasing demand for bicycle storage.
The underwater parking garage was created with the city’s many cyclists’ needs in mind. It’s secure and dry and also outfitted with cutting-edge security features such as cameras and electronic locks. Bike thieves will have to look somewhere else! The garage is also open 24 hours a day, allowing cyclists to get their bikes whenever they need them.
The city of Amsterdam has long prioritized sustainable transportation and reducing its carbon footprint, and this underwater parking garage is just one example of the city’s efforts to make cycling more accessible and convenient. With more than 60% of Amsterdam residents cycling as their primary mode of transportation, the need for secure and easily accessible bike storage is more important than ever.
This underwater parking garage is not only functional, but it is also an engineering marvel. The structure was built in a unique way that allowed it to be placed underwater without disrupting the local ecosystem. This was accomplished by employing an interlocking concrete block system that was filled with sand and gravel to form a stable foundation.
The underwater parking garage exemplifies Amsterdam’s commitment to sustainability and innovative urban planning. It provides secure and accessible bike storage for residents and visitors to the city, and it serves as a model for other cities around the world looking to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainable transportation.
A New Author Earns Her Stripes With Book Signings
Being a genuine book author, as in writing traditionally for a published piece of work, has never been an easy path towards success. For every successful author that makes it, there are probably 10,000 would-be authors that never see the light of day. That said, Chelsea Banning is not one of them. She managed to achieve the first big leap in getting her first book published.
Along with publication, authors traditionally have to help with marketing their books, which means attending book signings in person. So, Chelsea made it known she would be present at a given booksigning located in Ohio one recent weekend. At least 40 people online confirmed they would show up for support. However, even though she took that metric and both her and the bookstore owner expected a showing, only two people visited. It was the straw that broke her back mentally.
Chelsea worked tirelessly to get her book accepted, published and put in print, being the first one in her trilogy. With a concept of picking up the story of what happened after King Arthur’s death, she put in a decade and half to see the book come to fruition. The lack of anyone showing up then for the booksigning was the final insult in her mind.
So, after an embarrassing day of sitting and staring at the insides of a bookstore and basically being ignored, Chelsea closed up, apologized to the bookstore owner, and went home. Trying to sleep it off didn’t help. So, she vented on Twitter about the experience and her literary frustration. Then, the unexpected happened.
There were responses. And, more interesting, they were not just people she knows or average folks online. Instead, a slew of famous and well-known book authors threw in their opinions, some humorous, all sympathetic and some reminded Chelsea that poor book-signing attendance was normal for a book author’s life. Many of the comparisons were personal and illuminating, being in stark contrast to the fame of the authors today. The names included Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Jodie Picoult and more. In fact, Chelsea’s post response read a bit like a who’s who among modern famous authors in 2022.
The best part, however, was the fact that Chelsea’s confidence was restored. Hearing from all the big names that have come before her, she’s realizing she’s not alone. And, yes, Chelsea is definitely planning to attend another book signing, even if someone mistakes her for help and asks where they can find the bathroom.
Endangered Punganur Cows Get Help From Former Dairy Operator￼
Ramadas Kudala, a 61-year-old former GM at AP Dairy, dresses in a dhoti each day as he walks his little cows and his neighbor takes his Saint Bernard for a stroll around the roadways of Boduppal. The neighbor would tease Kundala, calling him a “cowboy,” while the livestock owner would call the dog’s dad a “saint.”
Kundala is home to a herd of Punganur cows, the shortest variety of humped cattle around the globe, which can be traced back to the Chittoor district. They’re on the brink of extinction, measuring in at just under 3 feet at their tallest (which is still shorter than a Saint Bernard). Fewer than 200 Punganur cattle are thought to still be alive today.
Kundala moved his family and his 40 Punganur cows from their original home on a 250 square-yard site in Boduppal to a more spacious ‘goshala’ in Maryala spanning two acres.
Kundala is very protective of his offspring and has given each one a name. As he takes you on a tour of the goshala, he stops at various stations to introduce you to everyone there.
“Every weekend I hang out with these Chinna who gush about Mahalakshmi.” After introducing Kamakshi, he pointed out Meenakshi and Chamundeshwari, who were also lounging around. “Here’s Gowri, by the way,” he said, “And next to her is Gowri’s son, the little Chidambareswar.”
Two younger cows dozed cozily nearby as Chidambershwar, the calf, was being licked thoroughly by his mother, the fawn gem Gowri. “Brinda is the peaceful, milky white one over there. Shambhavi is standing in front of her,” he added. The bulls, including Nishkalank, Mahakal, and Om Namah Shivaya, were given names associated with Shiva, the male spouse of Goddess Parvati.
They may be diminutive in stature, but their punch is tremendous. They can cost upward of Rs 20 lakh, while the milk is valued at roughly Rs 300 per liter.
They have a low caloric intake yet still manage to produce nourishing milk that is high in fat and has therapeutic value. About 25 years is the average lifespan for them. “There are no such things as small surprises.” While on his knees, Kundala stated this jokingly as he fed his “little ones” bananas, sprouts, and jaggery. In return, several of the animals licked his fingers.
“Free-range conditions benefit cows physiologically and psychologically. Kundala, a resident of Pulivendula in the YSR Kadapa district, remarked, “You can substantially prolong their lifespan by keeping them out of busy and congested locations.”
Kundala once approached the late Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, with an out-of-the-ordinary query while working in the management information systems unit at the AP Diary. A fellow Pulivendula native, Rajasekhar Reddy (YSR), has his sights set on some Punganur bovines.
According to rumor, the then-CM was so taken aback by this request that he exclaimed, “People are asking for deals, property, as well as a lot of other stuff. You’re looking for a cow!!”
Rajasekhar Reddy ordered his employees to transport cows from Punganur to Kundala, but the move was deemed unfeasible. The cows were handed to me a month later, and at that point, Kundala said his love for cows started. “Reddy Garu quipped, ‘What might he reckon if a CM could not even offer this man a cow?’
Kundala has such a deep and abiding affection for cows that when lawmakers and celebrities have asked to adopt one, he has gently denied it, citing the inherent unfairness of taking a mother away from her offspring.
The dairyman-turned-herder states he is in negotiations with the government of Telangana to have milk from his goshala used throughout Nithya Kainkaryams as well as “naivedyam” offerings to sections of Yadadri. That’s similar to milk from the same cow being used in Tirumala for Lord Venkateswara Swamy.
Hawaii Goes Coal Free, But Might be Going Too Fast￼￼
Hawaii has left behind the 19th century. For the first time, the island state will produce its energy coal-free. The last shipment of the black rock resource docked and no more will be arriving with the remaining coal plant closing its doors at the end of summer 2022.
Firing coal has been an energy resource for centuries, and Hawaii as no exception. Early town establishments quickly set up supply lines, trading exports for imported coal and factory power to produce greater and bigger agricultural product output as a result. Ultimately, coal energy was shifted to municipal power grids as well. Every shipment in modern times has been about 15,000 tons, all of it going into a power plant pumping out 180 megawatts for the local energy grid. In 2018, this resource still made up for about thirteen percent of total energy consumption.
The state has been heavily moving towards renewable energy since 2014. That year, Hawaii’s state government pledged to be 100 percent off of fossil fuels by the year 2045. That includes a complete redesign of the state’s energy infrastructure, which is no small task. That said, by 2020, the state legislature had passed and enacted a law basically making it illegal to burn any industrial or commercial coal on the islands entirely. The single plant left was already scheduled to be phased out, but if anyone was thinking about potentially changing their minds, the 2020 state law shut down that option entirely.
The alternatives for energy support, however, still leave the option open to use oil. That has been a heavy dependency, basically representing over 67 percent of the energy resource for the state’s power grid currently. Coal was a significantly smaller second-place resource at only 15 percent of the grid’s dependence. So, no surprise, it was going to be an easier fossil fuel to eliminate and replace with something like solar and wind instead.
Solar was already on the way up for the island residents. The number of solar grids for homes practically jumped 100 percent in five years by the time 2020 rolled around. The lower cost and far more standardization of roof panels made installation a lot easier and amenable for homeowners, and with a state that sees more sun than rain, it only made sense. Now that the coal plant is shutting down by the end of the year, folks will have no choice for their electricity but to shift to other source systems.
The shift is a challenge. While the state was quick to see the AES Corporation coal plant close, the replacement systems haven’t come online near as fast. So, there is a shortage in the overall grid, which is going to drive up consumer costs for a while. That’s not good news for a state that is already one of the most expensive to live in. Furthermore, Hawaii is a prime candidate for geothermal energy use, like Iceland, but there hasn’t been sufficient interest in that direction, or risk takers, so the lava fields go untapped. It’s a potential where Hawaii could end up being a poster child for trashing fossil fuels too fast without a solid game plan on how to move forward.
With six different power grids to support, Hawaii’s energy managers have their work cut out for them. If they can pull off a 100 percent renewable status, it will be a gamechanger well beyond the island state alone.