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Posts tagged as Austin

Travel to Texas This Spring to See Record Numbers of Monarch Butterflies

Texas could see around 300 million monarch butterflies this spring following what Travel + Leisure described as “the biggest wildflower bloom.

So if you were considering a trip to Texas this spring, you have yet another reason to go.Every spring, bluebonnets bloom throughout central Texas, especially in Hill Country, a picturesque region outside of Austin thats also known for its vineyards. According to Southern Living, The region experienced an above average rainfall this winter, which could lead to a megabloom.The megabloom, in turn, is expected to attract a record numbers of butterflies during their migration from Mexico to Canada.Photo by Roberta Guillen on Unsplash“Figures show the highest number of hectares covered since at least 2006,” Craig Wilson, director of the USDA Future Scientists Program and senior research associate in the Center for Mathematics and Science Education at Texas AM, told Texas AM Today.

“Monarch numbers are usually measured in hectares, so that means about 15 acres are being used for their breeding grounds in northern Mexico. That’s a really positive sign, especially since their numbers have been down in recent years.According to Wilson, milkweed is essential for monarch butterflies, and luckily its in plentiful supply in central Texas. Hes encouraging Texas residents to plant milkweed in their gardens now.Hoping to see the wildflowers while theyre in bloom? Southern Living reports that the best place to see them is in Big Bend National Park, which is in the western part of the state on the Mexican border.Just dont be one of those tourists behaving badly who caused the closure of Lake Eslinor, California during the poppy superbloom.

 

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Art City Austin Announces Full Programming for April Arts Festival

Art Alliance Austin has announced the full programming schedule for the 69th annual Art City Austin Festival, which includes fine art, culinary, The centerpiece of the festival will be an art market or Convergence Fair.Featured artists include David Bjurstrom, Greg Davis, Jay Long, Rebekah Farrell, Bryan Clocker, Kreg Yingst, Haley Lebeuf, Justin Goodall, and others. (A full list of participating artists is here).
The preview party on Friday, April 12 allows visitors to shop at the Convergence Fair early, and includes catered drinks and food from local restaurants. Tickets for the preview party are available here.In addition, the festival has scheduled artist talks, tours of Austins museums and galleries, and a special gourmet dinner and exhibition on Saturday night at GALLERY 35.Via Art Alliance Austin: Ticket are $15 for 2-day general admission access (children 12 and under are free) and $50 for 2-day VIP wristbands (children 6 and under are free).
Tickets for the “United In Color” preview party start at $80, with a 2-pack available for $150. Both include 2-day admission to the April 13 and 14 festival.

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Pool: The rise of victimhood culture

In their recent book, “The Rise of Victimhood Culture,” Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning discuss three cultures; the honor culture, the dignity .

Honor culture is “attached to physical bravery and the unwillingness to be dominated by anyone,” say the authors.In these cultures, reputation is important. Failure to fight back against slights and insults damages one’s reputation.Campbell and Manning note that these cultures arise in places where law is weak or absent, and where the aggrieved often do not resort to law even if it is available. They specifically cite the Hamilton-Burr affair of honor.
Duels were illegal in New York and New Jersey, but Burr was never brought to trial.Other writers have claimed that the elevated level of violence among white men in the American South is a legacy of a culture of honor.Some, such as Thomas Sowell, have characterized the high levels of homicide among young black men a consequence of an honor culture.Honor culture has been replaced in modern society by dignity culture.Dignity is not dependent on what others think. The schoolyard chant “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a manifestation of this attitude.People in dignity cultures are urged to ignore minor affronts or to use nonviolent responses. Eventually, the offended may bring lawsuits or otherwise engage the authorities, yet there is social pressure against being confrontational or too litigious.
Campbell and Manning say the strongest form of dignity culture existed in homogeneous mid-20th century American towns, where strong legal systems and social closeness discouraged aggressiveness and fostered settlement of infractions.Yet in recent years a new form is culture is emerging, one the authors call victimhood culture.In this culture, verbal slights are considered actually harmful. What earlier generations might have regarded as insensitivity is now tagged with the neologism “microaggression.” These are slights or comments that may not even be intentional, but are nevertheless hurtful.In victimhood culture, like honor culture, the offended are touchy and on the lookout for affronts.Unlike honor culture, the affronted are quick to claim victimhood status and to look to authority figures to take action.Unsurprisingly, the incubators of victimhood culture are the college campuses, which have engendered a new vocabulary: “microaggression,” “microassault,” “microinvalidation,” “mansplaining,” “whitesplaining,” “straightsplaining,” “cultural appropriation,” “slut shaming,” and “heteronomativity.”On some campuses offices and websites exist so people can make accusations more easily.Victimhood culture has moved off campuses and online, with so-called “hashtag activism.” We have seen incidents recently where huge numbers of people post abusive comments about people who are perceived to have victimized others by demeaning them.The most recent of these took place with a group of Catholic high school boys, a Native American with a drum, and a group of black religious extremists.
The tempers have died down, fortunately, with at least some people chastened by their initial response.It is fair to say that Campbell and Manning are not sympathetic to victimhood culture.Their work is heavily footnoted, and their tone is scholarly rather than polemic.If they are right about their analysis and justified in their concerns, a big question arises.What are we to do about this?And who are “we,” anyway? Frank Thomas Pool is a writer and a retired English teacher in Austin. He grew up on Maple Street in Longview and graduated from Long view High School.His column appears Tuesday. SMS Print Save More Today’s Bible verse 2 hrs ago“But you, Lord, do not be far from me.You are my strength; come quickly to help me.”

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Meal kits cut food waste but packaging is a problem, study finds

Home delivery meal kits can slash food waste by more than two-thirds, but suppliers need to switch to reusable packaging to make them .
Tailor-made meal kits save waste by providing people with precise amounts of fresh ingredients for chosen recipes, meaning leftovers are minimised and less food goes off before people have a chance to use it.But while the delivery services score well on reducing food waste, buying the same ingredients from the supermarket almost always saves energy overall simply because meal kits use so much single-use packaging.“The good news is that if you have meals that are tailored for consumption, people won’t over-buy and you have less food waste.You fine-tune the portions to what people will actually eat,” said Michael Webber, acting director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas in Austin.Beyond the cost of the waste itself, discarded food generates methane that contributes to climate change.
If food waste was a country, it would rank third in emissions behind the US and China. A 2018 report from the Boston Consulting Group found that the waste was set to soar by a third by 2030 when global food waste was estimated to reach 2.1bn tonnes.Restaurants could make £7 for every £1 invested in cutting waste, report reveals.According to Webber, meal kits can reduce transport emissions if they mean people take fewer trips to the supermarket.

If people only went to buy non-perishable goods such as soap and toilet paper, they may only have to visit once every couple of months, he said. “That delivery truck can carry meals for you and dozens of neighbors, so you might replace dozens of car trips with one truck trip,” he added.The study found that even if delivered meal kits reduced food waste to zero, they would still use up more energy overall than buying the same food from the supermarket unless the energy used for the meal kit packaging was cut by a fifth. Details of the study were presented on Thursday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington DC.“The packaging is a killer if it’s single-use and thrown away. All the environmental benefits are lost,” said Webber.“But if the packaging can be reused, if it’s glass bottles, like in the old days, you can get some benefits.”

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