Engaging Journeys, Engaged Journalism

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Ready to Hostel-Hop the Coast?

Hostel Territory Part 2: Upscale Scenery on a Backpacker Budget Said it before and will surely say it again: Hostels are among the best travel bargains around, for travelers of all ages. And hostelling now, during the off-season, is ideal for Californians. You won’t meet as many international travelers, always an appeal of hostel stays. […]

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Compassion Across Species

How do we share in the suffering of others? Can we? At seven in the morning hundreds of blackbirds and several dozen crows forage on the grass in the field I walk and jog around for exercise. I’ve gotten to know their ways, a bit. Glossy black male Brewer’s blackbirds hop, cock their tails up, […]

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Who Revived the Electric Car?

Electric Cars Roll Again One scene alone in Chris Paine’s film The Revenge of the Electric Car is worth the price of Netflix rental. The occasion is the big spring North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Paine, behind the camera, is chatting up Elon Musk, CEO of the upstart Silicon Valley electric car (EV) […]

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Making the Most of Hostel Territory

Part I: San Francisco Not just “youth hostels” anymore, California’s classy low-rent accommodations welcome travelers of all ages, and certainly anyone with a mild sense of adventure plus a willingness to toss sleeping bags onto bunks. But these days, fresh linens and towels are the rule rather than the exception (no need to BYO bedding […]

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Who Killed the Early EVs?

Some people called it a murder mystery, others, an infuriating call to political action. Star of the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, Director Chris Paine’s documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? told this shocking tale in the form of a classic whodunit. The story began in California, where in 1995—inspired by news of General Motors’ groundbreaking […]

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Is It Time (Yet) for Electric Cars?

Why the Electric Car? Gasoline-powered cars stink. Just ask Chuck Alldrin. That’s no philosophical or political judgment. It’s simply an observation. It wasn’t until Alldrin started driving electric cars that he noticed how bad other cars smell. “You just don’t think of it,” he says. “You don’t notice that the car in front of you […]

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The Man with the Compound Eyes

Book Review: The Man with the Compound Eyes Written by Ming-Yi Wu, translated by Darryl Sterk British and American people may jokingly refer to the Atlantic Ocean as “the pond,” but I’ve yet to hear American or Asian people make a similar joke about the Pacific. In fact, given the cultural differences between the United […]

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Is It Time for Tiny-House Villages?

Tiny-House Villages Offer Transitional Housing as Well as Much More Permanent Options It was a natural step for Andrew Heben, the transition from the Occupy movement into creating collaborative housing for homeless and low-income populations. He became aware of the need for more and better housing options for the homeless during his Occupy days, in […]

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Is It Time for Tiny Houses?

In An Era of Tight Budgets and Other Limits, Small Looks More and More Beautiful Once Jay Shafer gets done explaining the virtues of tiny houses, you feel embarrassed living anyplace larger than, say, an obscenely spacious 500 square feet. A key reason to live small – or at least much, much smaller – is […]

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Cruising Around Craftsman Town

Exploring the Pasadena Idea Surprisingly appealing, this self-satisfied city is so sure of its essential worth that it sees little need to primp and pimp for the almighty tourist dollar. Pasadena is low-key about its attractions, which are legion. Southern California boosterism played its part in Pasadena’s past, sure, but these days heavy-handed hype is […]

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