CULTURE

Denveright: A Community Planning for Process for Denver’s Next 15 Years

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Denveright is a community-driven process for shaping Denver’s future over the next 15 years. The first public session was held this morning at McNichols Civic Center Building in Denver.

Open to the public, the Denveright sessions seek strong community involvement. Planning focuses on four key areas: land use, mobility, parks, and recreational resources.

Brad Buchanan, Executive Director, Community Planning and Development at City and County of Denver, opened the session. Buchanan introduced the opportunities for creating a bright and sustainable future.

Brad Buchanan, Executive Director, Community Planning and Development at City and County of Denver, opened the session. Buchanan introduced the opportunities for creating a bright and sustainable future.

Jay Renkens, Principal & Director of Denver Area Operations at the architectural and planning firm MIG, reviewed Denver's previous planning successes and outlined the current planning process.

Jay Renkens, Principal & Director of Denver Area Operations at the architectural and planning firm MIG, reviewed Denver's previous planning successes and outlined the current planning process.

Phase 1, the Kick Off, is currently underway. The process will extend to Phase 4, Documentation and Adoption, in the winter of 2018.

Phase 1, the Kick Off, is currently underway. The process will extend to Phase 4, Documentation and Adoption, in the winter of 2018.

Denveright encourages you to Get Involved. The schedule of upcoming meeting is here.

John Oró, MD

 

Photos: The 2015 Denver Challenge Cup at The Commons on Champa

The Commons on Champa served as a vibrant venue for the 2015 Denver's Challenge Cup.

The Commons on Champa served as a vibrant venue for the 2015 Denver's Challenge Cup.

The global incubator and venture fund 1776, hosted the 2015 Denver Challenge Cup at The Commons on Champa in Denver on November 24, 2015. The goal of the 1776 Challenge Cup is to “discover the most promising, highly scalable startups that are poised to solve the major challenges of our time.”

Winners of the Denver Local round then move up to the Regional competition and each of the winners in the 9 Regional Challenge Cups - along with a few wild cards – are invited to participate in the Global Finals to be held June 2016 in Washington, D.C.

“There, they’ll compete for over $1 million in prizes, as well as spend time with the investors, customers, media and other key connections that can help them succeed on a global scale.”

 

a few images from the 2015 Denver Challenge Cup

Each of 20 entrepreneurs had two minutes to pitch to the judges and one minute for questions. 

Michelle Archuleta, CEO of Doctor Speak, describes their platform for "translating medical terminology and speech into something you as a patient can understand and use to make informed medical decisions."

With the energy radiated by Daryl Oster, Founder and CEO of ET3 Global Alliance, Inc., we may soon be ridding in high-speed evacuated tubes pods.

Dynamic Desiree Shank, Founder and CEO of Future College Fund, describes how to crowdfund your child's college education. 

Anthony Franco, CEO of mcSquares, describes their "dry-erase system that enables you to collaborate and create like never before."

mcSquares gets everyone involved in the process on an equal footing. Shy or not. 

John Schnipkoweit, CEO/Co-Founder NextStep.io, on supercharging your Fitbit for better health.

Mike Kobneck, President and co-founder of Novum Concepts, describes Biophone, a smart-phone/iPad app that deploys “to first responders to capture images and video from the field that are sent to the ER prior to arrival.” 

Kevin Krauth, co-founder of Orderly Health, explains how their service helps you "understand your complete cost of care, including what you spend outside of your insurance company" by combining "healthcare spending from both claims and personal spending accounts to show you every dollar spent to keep you and your family healthy."

Wendi Burkhardt is co-founder and CEO of Silvernest, an online market that "boldly breaks the rules of aging so you can open your home on your own terms. We’re creating the next generation of roommates. A more modern kind. A well matched kind."

CONGRATULATIONS TO the winners & ALL THE Participants!

 

Learn more about the 1776 Challenge cup here.

Find links to the 20 competing startups pitching at the 2014 Challenge Cup here.

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

French girl becomes blind due to clouding of her lenses -

Beauty in a world beyond light -

A young German soldier avoids life in a coal mine -

Since childhood, he is fascinated by sending & capturing of messages beyond visible light -

Radio -

Their paths cross - 

World War II, thus some harsh episodes -

An ultimately tense tale in a world hopefully gone by -

John Oró, MD

Is "deep reading" better on paper?

Has reading changed in the digital age? Are we as absorbed when reading on our screens as this young boy reading in the 1940's?  Brandon Keim opens his article in Wired magazine on "deep reading" with the following observation:

"Paper books were supposed to be dead by now. For years, information theorists, marketers, and early adopters have told us their demise was imminent. Ikea even redesigned a bookshelf to hold something other than books. Yet in a world of screen ubiquity, many people still prefer to do their serious reading on paper."

When searching for a good book, I find myself returning to physical books instead of digital ones.  While the evidence is not definitive, paper may provide something not delivered by a screen. Keim quotes literacy professor Anne Mangen of Norway’s University of Stavenger: 

“Reading is human-technology interaction. Perhaps the tactility and physical permanence of paper yields a different cognitive and emotional experience.”

Read more (on the screen!?) at Why the Smart Reading Device of the Future May Be … Paper

"Chairs are a recent invention"

"Chairs are a recent invention. Folks as early as the ancient Egyptians had them, but they were a luxury item reserved for the upper classes. Your average Neolithic human sat on chests or benches until chairs became a mass-produced staple that everyone could afford. Earlier than that, for most of human history, formal-sitting furniture simply didn’t exist. Paleolithic posteriors surely rested upon rocks and logs and stumps when the opportunity arose, but those aren’t the same as having permanent fixtures that allow you to take a load off whenever you want. Human bodies were not designed with chairs in mind. We did do a lot of lounging around – I’m not arguing we never stopped moving or anything – but we did so on the ground, rather than on a bunch of folding chairs.”

Read more: Floor Living: Do You Spend Enough Time on the Ground?

Richard Riemerschmid: Chair; Oak solid wood with leather upholstery; Design for a Music Room at the German Art Exhibition in Dresden in 1899. Source: Wikimedia

Richard Riemerschmid: Chair; Oak solid wood with leather upholstery; Design for a Music Room at the German Art Exhibition in Dresden in 1899. Source: Wikimedia

On the wandering mind

"The intuitive mind is a scared gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."  - Albert Einstein

"The intuitive mind is a scared gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."  - Albert Einstein

 In his new book Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, Daniel Coleman has a chapter on "The value of the mind adrift." A few quotes: 

"Every variety of attention has its uses. The very fact that about half of our thoughts are daydreams suggests there may well be some advantages to a mind that can entertain the fanciful. We might revise our own thinking about a 'wandering mind,' by considering that rather than wandering away from what counts, we may well be wandering toward something of value."

.....

"Since the brain stores different kinds of information in wide-reaching circuitry, a freely roaming awareness ups the odds of serendipitous associations and novel combinations."

.....

"The nonstop onslaught of email, texts, bills to pay - 'life's full catastrophe' - throws us into a brain state antithetical to the open focus where serendipitous discoveries thrive. In the tumult of our daily distractions and to-do lists, innovation dead-ends; in open time it flourishes. That's why the annals of discovery are rife with tales of brilliant insights during a walk or a bath, on a long ride or vacation. Open time lets the creative spirit flourish; tight schedules kill it."

Source: Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence

Image:  Statue of Albert Einstein, Vail, Colorado. Copyright CyberMed, LLC

mmm...coffee: Denver's Paleo Café

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I recently made my first visit to mmm...coffee, Denver's first Paleo Café. In a glass case were a number of cookies and treats. I asked the young woman behind the counter: "What's Paleo?" She said: "Everything. We make it all ourselves, even the chocolate." The mmm...coffee flyer tells more:

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I picked up a couple of N-Oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies and two bags of Paleo granola; half of the order for a friend of mine that works at the hospital. Below is an image of the enticing granola. My two cookies were gone by the time I got home. Tempting and healthy!

John Oró

2013 & The Urge to Explore

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“Ernest Henry Shackleton, Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Dr. Edward Adrian Wilson on the British National Antarctic Expedition (a.k.a. Discovery-Expedition), 2 Nov 1902.” Image: Wikimedia. PD-US – published in the US before 1923 and public domain in the US.

Tomorrow, The National Geographic Society begins celebrating their 125th anniversary. In a special issue of National Geographic magazine titled Why We Explore, the Society  is “kicking off a year of stories about the new age of exploration.” In the article Restless Genes, David Dobbs discusses with Svante Pääbo our Paleolithic ancestor's urge to explore:

No other mammal moves around like we do,” says Svante Pääbo, a director of the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, where he uses genetics to study human origins. “We jump borders. We push into new territory even when we have resources where we are. Other animals don’t do this. Other humans either. Neanderthals were around hundreds of thousands of years, but the never spread around the world. In just 50,000 years we covered everything. There’s a kind of madness to it. Sailing out into the ocean, you have no idea on what’s on the other side. And now we go to Mars. We never stop. Why?”

Why indeed? Pääbo and other scientists pondering this question are themselves explorers, walking new ground. They know that they may have to backtrack and regroup at any time. They know that any notion of why we explore might soon face revision as their young disciplines – anthropology, genetics, developmental neuropsychology – turn up new fundamentals. Yet for those trying to figure out what makes humans tick, our urge to explore is irresistible terrain. What gives rise to this madness to explore? What drove us out from Africa and onto the moon and beyond?

Dobb’s goes on to discuss genes that may allow us explore by giving us “great mobility, extraordinary dexterity” and “brains that can think imaginatively.” These three factors form a feedback loop: imagination acted upon by our mobility and ability further fires imagination of what is possible. Our long childhoods also play a role: “we have an unmatched period of protected 'play' in which to learn exploration’s rewards.”

Migratory waves of courageous and exploratory people carry these genes forward, which in a new environment can be further favored. As Dobbs notes, migration “would have selected for multiple genes that favor curiosity, restlessness, innovation, and risk taking” and created another “self-reinforcing loop, amplifying and spreading the genes and trait’s that drive it.”

Finally, we have our tools – such as the ship, compass, sextant, sleds, protective clothing and many other tools that allowed Ernest Shackleton (above) and his team to explore unknown lands.

This New Year, follow your urge to explore. It is our heritage.

Did the Roman Empire & the Han Dynasty begin the Anthropocene?

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Roman sarcophagus with battle scene, Dallas Museum of Art. Source: WikimediaThe Anthropocene, a newly defined "informal" geological era, marks the timeframe in which humankind’s planetary impact has been so intense we alter Earth’s geology. But when did Anthropocene begin?

While some favor the Industrial Revolution as the start of the Anthropocene, I side with those arguing for an onset 8,000 to 10,000 years ago with the advent of agriculture. Now there is new evidence that greenhouse gasses - particularly the potent greenhouse gas methane - took a jump during the Roman empire and Han Dynasty in China which pushes the onset of the Anthropocene to at least 2,000 years ago.

In a study published October 4, 2012 of Nature, C. J. Sapart and colleagues looked at the “Natural and anthropogenic variations in methane sources during the past two millennia.” According to Richard Ingham of AFP, the research found “humans were big emitters of greenhouse gases long before the Industrial Revolution.”

For 1,800 years before industrialisation took off in the 19th century, emissions of methane rose in line with expanding populations, human conquest and agricultural techniques.

Big early increases coincided with the Chinese Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) and the Roman empire (27 BC to the last western emperor in 476 AD), which along with an advanced Indian civilisation at the time chopped down millions of trees to heat homes and power their metal-working industries, often to provide weapons.

Humankind added approximately 28 billion tonnes of methane to the atmosphere per year between 100 BC and 1600 AD through fires, deforestation, and rice paddies. And, according to the study:

Based on archaeological metal production estimates, we calculate that the charcoal used for metal production at the peak of the Roman empire alone could have produced 0.65 teragrams (650 million tonnes) per year of methane. 

More on the Anthropocene:

Skiing in a Warming Climate

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Greater increase in winter temperatures in Northeast, Midwest and down to Texas, and parts of the Mountain West. Source: NRDC

This year’s skiing season has gotten off to a worrisome start. According to Bob Berwyn of the Summit County Voice:

With the state’s major ski resorts struggling to open just minimal amounts of terrain in time for the busy Christmas holiday season, two University of New Hampshire researchers estimate that the $12.2 billion industry has already suffered a $1 billion loss and dropped up to 27,000 jobs due to diminished snow fall patterns and the resulting changes in the outdoor habits of Americans.

Katharine Q. Seelye of The New York Times reports that ski centers at “the lower elevations and latitudes” will likely close as the climate warms:

Whether this winter turns out to be warm or cold, scientists say that climate change means the long-term outlook for skiers everywhere is bleak. The threat of global warming hangs over almost every resort, from Sugarloaf in Maine to Squaw Valley in California. As temperatures rise, analysts predict that scores of the nation’s ski centers, especially those at lower elevations and latitudes, will eventually vanish.

Under certain warming forecasts, more than half of the 103 ski resorts in the Northeast will not be able to maintain a 100-day season by 2039, according to a study to be published next year by Daniel Scott, director of the Interdisciplinary Center on Climate Change at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

The percentage of ski resorts in the Northeast predicted to be viable by 2039:

  • Connecticut – 0%
  • Massachusetts – 0%
  • New York - 25%
  • New Hampshire - 39%
  • Maine - 57%

What about the Rockies? According to Seelye's article, “Park City, Utah, could lose all of its snowpack” by end of the century and the snowpack in Aspen, Colorado  “could be confined to the top quarter of the mountain." 

Will artificial snow rescue the ski mountains? In view of the predicted water shortages in the West, this is of doubtful economic feasibility.  Seelye writes: “After last year’s dry winter and a parched, sweltering summer, reservoirs are depleted, streams are low, and snowpack levels stand at 41 percent of their historical average.”

"Skiing Sunday was grand." However, this skiing season is not over. John Meyer, of The Denver Post, had a "grand" experience at Winter Park last Sunday when:

Colorado ski areas were blessed with a nice storm — 14 inches at Winter Park, for example. So I went back to Jones Pass on Sunday, hoping conditions were adequate at last. It was more than adequate. I was blessed with one of my most enjoyable backcountry experiences ever.

Art & Community: Denver's new ArtHaus gallery & studio

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Copyright: Michael Gadlin"Artists Michael Gadlin and Aliki McCain [Co-Owners], together, have begun creating a vision for their Art and community. Situated in the RINO district, ArtHaus was created to be an art studio, gallery, and place to learn. ArtHaus was built to be a place between art and community."