Y Expands its Summer Program to Include Free Meals, Thanks to Walmart Fnd.


Summer should be a time of fun and exploration, but often many children are left without the nutrition they need because the end of school means the end of school meals. According to the USDA, more than 21 million children lose access to free or reduced-cost meals once the school year ends. To make sure children in the Waverlies and Upton/Druid Heights neighborhoods have food year-round, the Y of Central Maryland is offering free healthy meals and snacks through its summer food program, made possible by a $10,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation.

Baltimore’s Income-Inequality as Seen from Space!


A couple weeks ago, blogger Tim De Chant posted an article pointing out the correlation between amount of tree cover in urban neighborhoods and income. It may seem like a no-brainer that wealthier neighborhoods boast larger trees and more overall, but it’s a tighter correlation than you may think. De Chant referenced a study that “found that for every 1 percent increase in per capita income, demand for forest cover increased by 1.76 percent. But when income dropped by the same amount, demand decreased by 1.26 percent.”

Apart from neighborhoods that are being blitzed with gentrification, tree cover ought to reveal a neighborhood’s per capita income  with a fair amount of precision, given the right algorithm. (Don’t look at me; I’m not figuring it out.)

Anyway, De Chant reasoned that income inequality might be seen “from space.” He grabbed screenshots from Google Earth to compare tree cover in different neighborhoods within a city. The pictures are pretty interesting. He didn’t include Baltimore, so I went and grabbed a couple of my own images. I found the most stunning difference between planned neighborhood Guilford and nearby Waverly in North Baltimore.

Transit of Venus — Two Words: Hydrogen. Alpha.

The transit through a hydrogen-alpha telescope. iPhone Photo by Monica Lopossay.

There’s no way our 14-month-old son Asher will remember the experience, but my wife and I took him to see the transit of Venus, anyway. The thought of him confronting me about it later (“Dad, if you love me, why did you let me miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event?”) was just too much to bear.

So we got a small crew together (me, Asher, my wife Melanie, and our photographer-friend Monica) and headed to the east end of Lake Montebello with plenty of time and waited for clouds to pass and for local astronomy enthusiast Herman Heyn to set up his bulky telescope.

Monica told us that a few of her friends planned to watch the transit from a rooftop staring through their camera’s telephoto lens (but according to a post-transit text message, “the sun is too bright” for that).

Baltimore’s “Street Corner Astronomer” Encourages You to Stare at the Sun (Through a Special Telescope)

2004's transit

You want to talk about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? How about a transit of Venus — when the blue planet takes about six hours to cross in front of the Sun? It’s happening on June 5 at 6:04 p.m. And it’s not going to happen again until 2117. (Technically, it’s more of a twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as TOVs occur in pairs eight years apart — so, yeah, there was one in 2004, but whatever, you missed that and now this is your only chance!)

Herman Heyn, Baltimore’s “street corner astronomer” occasionally seen in Fells Point or Charles Village offering passersby telescopic glimpses of various celestial sights, will be at the east end of Lake Montebello in northeast Baltimore with a special Sun telescope so anyone who wants to can view the astronomical rarity without causing damage to their eyes.

Heyn encourages spectators to show up early because, according to Heyn’s website, “the most exciting part of a TOV is when Venus first appears on the edge of the Sun.”

Charm City Cook: I Scream, You Scream

Remember the hilariously inappropriate Eddie Murphy stand-up about the ice cream man? Wow, remember when Eddie Murphy was funny? You know, before he started making God awful movies? Anyway, when I was a kid in the 70s, we had an ice cream truck, as many communities did. Not a lot happened in my hometown, so it was very exciting when you heard the ice cream man’s music on the next street over. You’d literally hear kids yelling, “ICE CREAM MAN!”

Remember Bomb Pops!?