Cool Toys pics of the day: EPA: My Environment


EPA: MyEnvironment:

Somedays I go into my files and pick something I’ve seen before.
Somedays I struggle to find something to say. And some days I stumble
over so many goodies I don’t know how on earth I’ll choose one, until
… the magic moment, when I inhale sharply and my eyes dilate and I
whisper to myself, “*That” is cool!” and I realize this is the One.
For that day, anyway. 🙂

This was one of the latter days. I found at least five or ten things
I’d like to show you all. But this one made my eyes sparkle. Talk
about a mashup! The EPA (United States Environmental Protection
Agency) has a ton of information and data about environmental issues
all across the US, from water quality to air quality to hazardous
wastes. These days a lot of people are rightly concerned about what we
are doing to the earth and how that ultimately hurts us. This grand
experiment called modern technology took a few incautious detours
along the road, and we are now trying to find a way to bring things
back into balance without giving up (much of) the technology.

The information is out there about our local environmental issues, but
it is often hard to get at (as was discussed yesterday). This
brilliant tool from the EPA makes it easy — easy to find, easy to
access, easy to understand. The data is mashed into a variety of data
visualizations to help clarify the concepts involved and make it easy.
This is true from the national and local air quality maps, to the
interactive display of local industries and factories, to the infant
mortality and cancer incidence displays to the daily streamflow data
from the USGS (US Geological Survey).

That is just the barest beginning. There is a lot more information in
here. All you do is go to the link above, and enter the zipcode you
are interested in. I could imagine making this an assignment for high
school kids where they could compare data from two locations, or could
take a close look at local data and talk about how industry
positioning seems to correlate (or not) with the environmental data. A
very cool tool for personal health and interest, looking to buy a new
home or relocate, or for education. LOTS of potential in this one.


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