Eclipse 2017: A Quest for Totality

Much like a watershed map describes how runoff flows from mountain to ocean, a drivershed can be used to detail a vehicle’s travel path between two points. I recently saw an analysis computing driver travel times from every US county to the Great American Eclipse’s path of totality. It concluded the largest “driveshed” in the US was Interstate 95, which intersected the path of totality in … Continue reading Eclipse 2017: A Quest for Totality

The Challenging Questions of Public Transit

I love when small events create profound change–or the potential for it. In a short instance, previous notions are erased and rewritten with a whole new narrative. I recently experienced one of these moments while reading Jarrett Walker‘s book Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking about Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives. For the first time in my professional life, I sensed a great amount of compatibility with an occupation. My engineering background, design skills, and profound passion for developing community overlap so beautifully with transit planning that I couldn’t help but gobble up each page with fervor and inspiration. Backed by decades of transportation consulting, Walker gives life to the basic principles of designing and evaluating public transportation systems. Written for the layman, Human Transit provides the reader with four fundamental considerations in which every transportation agency should ask themselves. For my own learning and with the hope of spreading his teachings, I detail Walker’s conclusions in my own words. Furthermore, I relate these four major concepts to events you may experience while using public transit. Continue reading “The Challenging Questions of Public Transit”

Discover Your Local Public Library

I define frugality as achieving similar results, for less. Less money, less time, and less energy. In turn, more of these resources are made available for the important things in life. Driven not by laziness, but optimization. This process of thinking is critical for designing an essential life. For example: how can I maintain my current social life, for less? How can I eat delicious foods, for less? How can I get direct access to the incredible minds of authors from around the world, for less? The last of these can be answered with a wonderful resource known to many, but used by few: the local public library. Continue reading “Discover Your Local Public Library”

Dan & Social Responsibility

I recently strolled to my local pharmacy for a quick errand. Like most short walks around my Seattle neighborhood, I passed a homeless gentleman and his folded cardboard sign. Written in black permanent marker, the characters read something about about hunger and blessings; I didn’t glance long enough to comprehend the rest. His appeal to everyone’s good nature was signed “Love, Dan”. If my life were a movie, this would be a fairly standard backdrop to my otherwise uneventful walk through town.

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Looking to Make Friends? Make Community Instead.

Moving across the country comes with its fair share of difficulties. When I left Michigan over two years ago, I arrived in Seattle without roots to call my own. Until then all social circles were more or less a byproduct of proximity and circumstance–high school classes, freshmen dormitories, academic departments, etc. Now I was on my own. Everyone around me seemed to have it all figured out: their routine, their friend group, and their favorite establishments around town. For the first time in my life, I felt like an outsider. How was I supposed to break through? Where to start? Continue reading “Looking to Make Friends? Make Community Instead.”