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Monday, October 20, 2014

What's Possible?

Anything, especially if Morgan Freeman is involved.  (But, that could just be my own personal

The last time I wrote, I was pondering the planetary population, here as it is on the cusp of 7. 3 billion people.  As you sit and ponder about 8 million people by 2025 & how 7 million more people will fit in a mere 11 years here on Earth, you begin to worry a bit.  But through worry, you also look at the flip side of the coin.  With hope and faith, you wonder "what's possible."

Luckily narrator Morgan Freeman, director Louie Schwartzberg, writer Scott Z. Burns, producer Lyn Davis Lear, & Moving Arts Studio also have pondered "What's Possible."  in the new short video of the same name.  Created for New York's 2014 United Nations Climate Summit, the video presents that climate change is conquerable, but we can't be slow about it.  The time is now.  When you watch the video, you do get the feeling that it is possible due to determination, activism, technology, and momentum.

The bigger question might not be "What's Possible," but rather, what's delaying us from doing what we need to do!!

To learn more about the September 23, 2014 UN Climate Summit 2014, be sure to check out the UN Climate Summit webpage and webcast archives.

Video from; image from

Saturday, October 18, 2014

7.2+ Billion & Counting

Nearly 2 years ago (almost to the swiftly approaching day) on October 31, 2011 it was projected that we reached 7 billion people planet-wide. Here's an anticipated infographic from that time period 2 years ago.

Where are we now--just 2 years later?  A good 265,000,000 more people and the second!!  That rounds up 7,300,000,000 people! That's 7-point-3 BILLION people. To see exactly where we are, population-wise, the Worldometers website can show you how swiftly it changes by the second.  In the time it took me to write this piece, the population jumped well over 2000 people.

According to the UN World Population Report, here in 2014, we are only 11 years from a predicted 8 billion by the year 2025.  Future plans?  If current trends continue:  9 billion by 2050.  10 billion around 2081,  And 11 billion by 2100.  Now, while I won't live to see 2100, that's only 86 years from where I'm sitting.  My children might not see it, but my unborn grandkids probably will.  So 2 generations from now, we'll be on the rise of over 3 billion people (which is just under half of our current human population of 7.265 billion people right now).

I don't know about you, and I don't know about my unborn grandkids, but I suspect none of us (or them) will want to live like sardines.  How will we fit?  What will the impacts be on our resources and the environment.  How are we going to generate that much "stuff" with all our material desires for "stuff" in just 86 year.  Houston, we have a problem here.  We are only one planet of one size.  What's it going to take to stop it, and slow down that Worldometer clock?!?!

And given what we are doing currently to our planet (with refusal to truly address global issues of pollution, deforestation, marine debris, climate change, energy consumption, and more), what will the planet we have created look like, 86 years from now?

Images:  In 5 minutes: 7 Billion People from;  Worldometers logo from, 7 billion people:  ipad app:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blast From the Past: October Green Team Gazette Newsletters

It's hard to believe that 2010 & 2009 were 4 and 5 years ago.  Here's a TBT: Throw Back Thursday to Green Team Gaette when it was in its newsletter infancy (aka: pre-blog!)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Columbus Day, 1492, and Do I Celebrate or Am I Blue?

On the path of full disclosure:

I had Columbus Day off today, and I loved it.  I really did.  3 days are the size that every weekend should be.  Especially here as I begin a new year, and a new job.

I. Love. 3 Day Weekends.

Yes, this is spoken as only a teacher can speak!


Did I toast good ole CC?

Did I raise a glass to the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria?

Do I think Chris C is awesome to end all awesomeness?

Do I post a flag and take over a native community--much like he did, back in 1492?


I am a girl who enjoys a teacher day off, but I am also a girl who has taught a half dozen years in Florida.  Good ole Chris Columbus is not revered in Florida.  Good ole Chris Columbus isn't revered many places.  In MOST places.  Chris Columbus was a greedy you-know-what.  Especially here in the aftermath of his true creds being outted and his reputation for being a not-so-nice-guy brought to the fore-front.  The Vikings even beat him too it by 500 years.  And you know what kind of guys those Vikings were!

Yes, it is still a federal holiday for some.  In fact, as of last year, 23 states AND DC did give their working folk the day off.


As a way of combatting the CC'conundrum, some people go the opposite direction, like Seattle, and declare the day "Indiginous People Day." (Check out the video!)

One of my favorite Christopher Columbus classroom traditions is to read the Jane Yolen book, "Encounter."  It tells the tale of CC's acquisition by way of takeover of the Tainos people.  It doesn't paint a pretty picture.  Every year, I have students comment on how wretched and evil good ole Chris looks.  This book trailer does a nice job of summing up the book.

But no one can quite do the anti-PC-holiday quite like John Oliver.
Take note:  it's not kid-friendly!

Christopher Columbus pic with stamp from; Columbus Day map from; video from

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Calling all Kindle Books: FREE!

Books are the way to your heart, the way to your soul, the way to everything about you!

Given this eWorld, books are also on the digital platform.

Here's a pretty nifty link that takes you to a multitude of free iBooks and eReads.  Be sure to check it out:   Free Kindle Books For Your Kids

Pic from

Friday, October 3, 2014



You like science.

You consider yourself a scientist at heart.

You feel the planets would be in line if all the people in the world were out there, doing something, about SCIENCE!

SciStarter is for you!

It houses a database of citizen science projects that are easy to approach, easy to attain, and draw you right in on the scientific level!  Students, teachers, scientists, and more can all be at the same place at the same time!  You can go right in and find projects that might be suited for you, your students, and all of a sudden.... you are there, making a difference!!

And sometimes you get there by way of a little F-U-N!

If you are looking for some fun AND scientific projects to do with your students, then Citizen Scientist is the way to go.  Once you are in on the website, it's only a matter of clicking along the parameters, and you are knee deep in a project you want to be in!  And you are making scientific news, collecting data as you go!  Search projects by free/low cost, featured projects, projects suitable for students or children, projects you can do by outdoors, do--it-yourself projects, or ones where it list available teaching materials.

Citizen Science pics:,

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book Clubs in the Great Outdoors

Stephen King may have said it perfectly.  Just check out the "photo quote-o!"  Books can transport you like nothing else can. In the busy world of back to school, I don't read nearly enough!

Hence, probably why I fell in love with this idea from Stephanie Burn's August 13th, 2014 Forbes article, "A New Twist on Book Clubs."
In the article, Stephanie interviews Jill Hinton regarding her Outdoor Book Club.  The concept:  travel, women, adventure, and books.  It's camping and characters, rolled into one.  It's outdoor exploits meets literary essays and bestsellers.  Ecotourism meets living room book clubs.

Pretty darn cool.  Makes you want to curl up in your sleeping bag and tent with a good book.

To learn more and "discover your inner heroine," check out Stephanie Burn's article (see link above), or go straight to Jill Hinton's source:  Outdoor Book Club.

I love her page:  Is this for you:

Her schedule for workshops for the next six months or so looks pretty darn cool!

Be sure to check it out over at Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter as well.

And, if you can't make any of her upcoming least go outside....or read a book...or do both!!!

Stephen King quote from ;  screenshot of "Is this for you?" from
Outdoor Book Club pic from

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Post-March Continuation of Climate Change

You know it's the beginning of the school year when the only thing you can do with interesting articles is stockpile them in your own email box, to be read later.  With the Climate Change March last weekend, much of what's been filling my email box has been in that department.

Here are a handful of 4 links to share the wealth.

9 Inspiring Posters from the People's Climate March
9 great visuals speak a million words over at Treehugger with Margaret Badore's 9/22/2014 photo collection. My favorite (credited to Ms. Badore):  

Ben & Jerry, over in their ice cream world, are big believers in both our environment and the ill-effects of climate change.  On their Sept. 2nd blog, they posted their promotion of the Sept. 21st Climate Change March.  My favorite quote of theirs:
"The goal is to show the world that the time to act on climate change is now if we hope to preserve our globe. Because just like ice cream, if it’s melted, it’s ruined."
Even better:  their video.

This Cheat Sheet Will Make You Win Every Argument
This oldie but goodie from Mother Jones (by James West from 3/4/2013) has circled back due to the Climate Change March from last weekend.

Climate argument flowchart

Climate Change & The Chesapeake Bay
NPR's September 15th, 2014 report by Pamela D'Angela investigates the effects of warming waters on our Chesapeake champions:  blue crabs and striped bass.  The bay's warming will cause holes in the food web, which is never good for biodiversity.  Bottom line:  big unknowns.  I do know that my friends who go crabbing have had a very bad year this year!  The 3+ minute report will be especially appreciated by fellow Marylanders, anglers, and environmentalists who are concerned by the health of the Bay.

Climate Change photo from;  Ben & Jerry's video from;
Cheat sheet from;
Ben & Jerry's melting ice cream cone:;
Ecosystem connections picture:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jon Stewart Sums Up Climate Change As Only He Can!!

"Smart Television" is often a phrase that is seen as an oxymoron.  Yet, in the arena of political satire, Jon Stewart, John Oliver, and Stephen Colbert definitely make for smart television.

This week, Jon Stewart proved that point with his "Burn Noticed" commentary on "The Daily Show" regarding this past weekend's Climate Change March.  So glad to find this gem on the Sept 23rd Grist Article by Ted Alvarez:  "To Watch Jon Stewart Burn House Climate Deniers is to Fall in Love All Over Again."

Just a heads up.  This is Comedy Central, peeps.  Therefore, the language might not be suitable to all... but definitely a great way to bring smiles to those of us adults who know what apparently the United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, & Technology does not.

Video from .

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Climate Change Rally 2014

September is a killer month for teachers:  back to school, back to business, business:  busy, busy, busy.

Add in, I'm a new teacher at a new doesn't matter how many years you have been teaching, when it's all new, it's all CRAZY busy!!

But today, September 21st, needed a post.  It's International Peace Day, and it was the 2014 Climate Change Rally.

It's what's called a "demonstration for the planet."
A poster from the 2010 Earth Day Climate Rally in Washington, DC. (Credit: Brown Political Review)
Ben & Jerry's is a major environmental supporter, as they have been in favor of climate change help for over 8 years.  Here's a good video that sums it up, in a yummy, ice creamy sory of way;


As the pictures of the rally start to surface today, I think these sign-headlines are great:
"There is no Planet B."
"Forestn's Aren't for Sale"
"Jobs, Justice, Clean Energy."

And here's word from my favorite children's author:  Dan Gutman.
Join me at 86th street and Central Park West on Sunday at 11:30am. 
One person won't make much of a difference, but ALL of us can.

Photo: Join me at 86th street and Central Park West on Sunday at 11:30am.  One person won't make much of a difference, but ALL of us can.
Unlike ·  · 

But rumor on the street is that 310,000 people were behind it today. 
Way to go people!!
This is where we need to be.

Other good articles:

Kaylin Richarson:  To Protech the Future, We Must Make Our Voices Heard.

4 Animations That Show What is Going On With Our Climate.

'Largest-ever' climate-change march rolls through NYC

For a great photo montage slide show of NYC's rally, check this out.

Images from:  International peace day pcic from;  Climate change pic from , and

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Book

I love this new gem from IKEA!  Just goes to show you how techy we have become (and how those traditional "book things" take us by tail and can almost turn us upside down here in the technological age!!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Follow The Frog

Rainforest Alliance draws you in with a tree frog (who doesn't love a tree frog), takes you down the road of paradoxical urban environmentalist, and brings you back again with the idea that you can do a lot without going to extremes.

This one is an oldie (back from 2012) but a goodie.  Go forth and follow the frog!!

Video from

Sunday, August 17, 2014

How My Sandy-Bottomed Pool Led Me to the Ocean

Today, in that "last weekend before school starts" sort of way, I spent a large chunk of the day in my backyard pool.

(Disclaimer:  Yes, I know there are environmentalists out there who would crank up the noise on the amount of water that is used in an above-ground, backyard pool.  That water would be seen as "wasted."   However, for me, the pool is my beacon of balance in the summer.  It's where I go to relax, rejuvenate, re-energize and exercise, and hang out with my peeps.  It's my way of restoring my year's worth of workaholic-ness.  But I digress.) 

Some of my pool time was me as a "party of one," and some of that was hanging with my son.  But most of it was hanging with my dog.  He's a Portuguese Water Dog just over a year old, with far too much energy.  The pool satisfies his need for water, and my need to get him to wear himself out!  Two great tastes that taste great together!!!

However, the problem comes when a very wet dog runs like mad in a yard that has just removed a shed. In its place now stands the 8 foot by 8 foot square foundation of dirt where the shed once was.  A dog does what a dog does, and voila!  Sandy dog meets water wonderland. And vice versa and back again. The dog doesn't care that a week ago I spent time and a half vacuuming to de-dirt the pool.  Likewise, he's perfectly fine to swim in it when it's atrociously dirty.  Which it now is.

So, I was in the pool, looking around and growling. I began stirring up the bottom dirt with my foot, feeling the sandy earth on the pool bottom, and it got me thinking. Dirt and water make mud.  Yet my pool is not muddy nor is it murky.  Why isn't it?  Why does the dirt settle to the bottom, more like sediment and less like mud?  Being a swimming scientist, I stirred the bottom grit around, only to watch it all settle again, sediment again.

It got me thinking--this is much like what happens in the ocean with marine debris:  aka, plastic (or sometimes it is called microplastic).  In my pool, fallen leaves (much like big plastic-landing oceanic items) break down, but never disappear.  The grit stays until I stir it up, then it swirls in the water, then settles down again.  It never fully combines.  Never the 'twain shall they meet.  In the ocean, the marine debris photodegrades (or gets broken down by the sun), yet it leaves behind nurdles--these plastic pellets--that never fully break apart.  They are left as floaters in the ocean, mistaken as plankton and sometimes eaten, and they never fully dissipate and disappear.

So now I look at my dirty pool a tad differently than I did a day ago.  I no longer look at it just "in desperate need of a cleaning" and how we need a gate to keep the dog out.  It now connects something as simple (and literal) as the "dirt under our feet" to a bigger, broader, more global issue.  Environmental issues that so many don't see--or choose not to look at.  People have tried for years to shout it from roof tops, and many still are missing the message.  Maybe the view from the pool might make a difference in making the message heard.

Images:  The 4 pool pics are my from my backyard pool, text enhanced with the Skitch app..  Microplastic pic from

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I'll Have Some Ice With That: #IceBucketChallenge

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Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Videos are careening all over Facebook, Instagram, and more, challenging one person then the next to drench themself with ice-infused water.  Oprah's done it.  Jimmy Fallon's done it.  Kerry Washington has done it.  Entire sports teams have done it.  It's the gift that keeps giving.

ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a degenerative disease which attacks the brain's nerve cells and the spine.  Eventually, the weakening of muscle cells (& the brain's control over it) leads to paralysis and then ultimately death.

Some people compare the challenge to a chain letter, but the results are paying off.  In a comparable time period from this year to last, ALS donations and donors have exponentially surpassed what they were last year.  There's a big difference from $5.5+ million to $32,000 last year.

So the videos and challenges continue on.

When I did mine, I challenged anyone who watched to take part.  Go forth, be brave, battle the goosebumps, and donate anyway. I'd love to hear about it here. To donate to the ALS Foundation, go to

As with most things, it goes to show the difference that one person can make, when multiplied out by thousands.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge -- August 2014 from Vicki Dabrowka on Vimeo.

Pic from my camera, as is the movie.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What'cha Gonna Do With that Plastic Bottle?

A little ingenuity goes a long way.  Take a soda bottle, for instance.  You buy it, you drink it, you're done with it in 20 minutes or so (given the size).  You've got 2 choices.  Trash it or recycle it.  Hopefully by now, we all know the latter one is the better option!!

But wait!  Do you only have 2 choices?  Last time I checked, there were 3 R's. Reduce, reuse, and recycle.  Now if you're like me, you're not going to be able to go very long reducing the caffeine intake.  I need me my Diet Coke, I'm tellin' ya!

(By the way, sideline commentary:  an aluminum can can be back on the shelf in six weeks, making it a better recyclable option than plastic.  But I digress!!)

So "reducing" might not be your "R" of choice--especially in this case.  We've already talked about "recycling."  So what does that leave?  "Reusing."

Now, you could head over to Pinterest and go nuts on the DIY sites, or one link could get you to a plethora of plastic plans from decorative, to functional, to just plain cool.  MetaPicture posted this article August 4th:  "Some People Just Throw Plastic Bottles Away, Others Make This..."

Here's just a sampling of the cool things on the MetaPicture site.  Definitely take time to check out more!! The napkin rings, lake boat, and spoon lamp were also pretty darn nifty!





And my favorite:  Rocket Blaster!

Diet Coke image from; All other Images from 

Special thanks to my West Coast Partner-In-Green for sending this my way!!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Marveling at Mount Trashmore: Part 2

Because a picture or two didn't seem to do it justice, here's a little movie trailer tribute to Virginia Beach's Mount Trashmore.  To read all about it, check out "Marveling at Mount Trashmore:  Part 1."

Video from and created with my pictures from camera & a little help from iMovie trailers!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Marveling at Mount Trashmore: Part 1

Ahhh....We've been knee-deep in a beach vacation down in Virginia Beach. A hotel with a great indoor pool, plus an outdoor pool (with water slide), gorgeous garden & lake views, and even a hot tub. We didn't even take the opportunity to take advantage of the resident day spa. Between trips to the actual beach (spending the day wave jumping) and nearby Busch Gardens Williamsburg, there was no time.

But there was one particular highlight for this eco-blogging girl. Much like Dan Gutman's Coke and Pepsi from his "Genius Files" series, my family (just like Gutman's McDonald's family) got dragged around to see the sights of Mom's weird-but-true landmark whims. The Yoyo Museum? Nope. The National Mustard Museum? Nah... We went to Mount Trashmore. Yep, you heard right--just like it sounds! Apparently one of the most visited parks in the area and the state (with over a million visitors per year).

Built in 1974, Mount Trashmore is a public park site built on an abandoned landfill that was properly covered and sealed. The park consists of two mountains, a lake, miles of hiking/biking trails, a fairly snazzy skate park, and two playgrounds. The night we got there, a group of street musicians were playing their rhythmic sounds, and a jazz concert was scheduled shortly before dusk. Kites were flying, both playgrounds were filled, and there were dog walkers, laughing picnickers, swing pushers, jogging climbers, and mountain roller-downers (including my kids). There might even have been some fisherfolk, hanging out by the lake. According to our GPS when we arrived at the park, we were near sea level (elevation-ly speaking) the 73-step climb felt impressive, with its mountaintop view (though I'd be more apt to say "hilltop" view) of the buildings of downtown Virginia Beach to one side, and Lake Trashmore on the other.

According to the wonderful world of Wikipedia (and we all know how sketchily reliable that can be), there are two other Mount Trashmores out there.  One of which is currently used landfill in Florida, but the other is a similar park site built on a post-existing landfill. It is located in Evanston, Illinois.  It brings to mind those 3 R’s (which I always debate there are more than a mere 3). "Reuse" would sum up what you'd call it, but I like to think of it as "reclaim." They reclaimed the land and made it something new and useful, that positively promotes nature and the outdoors.  The very heart of turning lemons into lemonade!

Post Script:  I got a little creative with my visit to Mount Trashmore.  Click here to see "Marveling at Mount Trashmore:  Part 2" & my video trailer tribute!

Dan Gutman Genius Files pic from;  all other pics from my camera.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Blast From the Past: Back To School Green Team Gazette Newsletters

'Tis the season...things (including nerves & lesson planning) are gearing up, getting ready for that whole "back to school business!"  Here are some good ole days from the Green Team Gazette Print era:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

ECS Re-Greening 2014

In the spring (and months leading up to that), my school partner in "green" and I finalized what we had started over Christmas break:  The "re-greening" of Eagle Cove School.  Since 2006 when ECS (formerly "Gibson Island Country School") became an official Maryland "Green" School, every 4 years we need to go through a re-certification process.  This process is necessary in order to ensure that the school is continuing forth with its environmental initiatives.  So after 2010, 2014 was our 2nd time for us to go forth to do that.  Of course, the "Green Team" of the two of us started the undertaking of re-greening long before our January 8th announcement that Eagle Cove was closing.

And, as I wrote about in my June 8th post "A Great School Lives in its Students Forever," we achieved that re-greening goal.  We became re-certified... even as our doors were closing.  Despite the fact that the school was closing, the re-greening has to do with the eco-accomplishments of the four previous years.  During those past 4 years (from 2010--2014), we all went from being an already-great environmental school to strengthening it--making it an even stronger and "greener" curriculum.  We ended at the height of our curricular career and the height of our environmentalism.  For that reason, we felt it was necessary to pay final tribute.

Interestingly enough, we were only one 4-year term away from becoming a Sustained Maryland Green School (which is the result of a successful third re-certification).

What I hadn't done though was to share that tribute with the GTG community.  Until now.  Here is the link that takes you to website that we created to showcase our triumphs at ECS over the last 4 years.

To see the complete list of Maryland "Green" Schools as of May 2014, click here.

To learn more about Maryland "Green" Schools or becoming one yourself, check out the Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education website.

Screenshots from and my own camera.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

7 Things About Nature That Kids (of All Ages) Must Know

Here's a little philosophical journey I put together to get kids of all ages to consider when thinking about Nature.

This presentation was created over at Haiku Deck, and it was inspired by the general thoughts Ratnesh Mathur's article.  I have paraphrased the key points here, and put in some of my own two-cents inside the "Notes" portion.  May it inspire you to get a little philosophical and environmental as well!

7 Things ABout Nature... 
Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Inspiration and article of Ratnesh Mathur from

Monday, July 14, 2014

What Do You Love?

What do you love?  The United Kingdom's Climate Coalition wants to know, because there is a very strong possibility that many of the things you love (beaches, chocolate, coffee, your children, a sustainable planet) could be in jeopardy the more climate change begins to affect us.  They are inviting you to not only watch their "For the Love of..." video, but also to visit their website and "add your love story."   By doing so, the Climate Coalition hopes you'll take a vested interest and look beyond the hype of doubt, and fight for what you love.  As their website "About" page states:  "Our love for these things is stronger.  Stronger than fear.  Stronger than apathy.  Strong enough to make action happen."

Another place to learn more after watching the video:  Check out The Climate Coalition.

Video from
Image from 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Gregg Segal's "7 Days of Garbage"

Garbage can tend to gross out most people... except maybe garbagologists.  Even the most avid of recyclers or composters can tend to get a lost of waste at the end of the day...not to mention the end of the week!

2_7 Days of Garbage_Si#9C36A0

Artist Gregg Segal takes a photo-approach to analyzing a week's worth of waste.  Given the average American makes approximately 4 pounds of trash per day, multiply that out by 7 days, and the number of people in your family.  That's a lot of landfill-fodder.  His visuals are certainly eye-opening... and for anyone with an active imagination, you can't help but wonder about the odor!

11_7 Days of Garbage_Ha#9C3688

But I think for me, who is always analyzing the overuse of plastic that abounds in our society, the pictures make an interesting survey of how much disposable plastic there is.  Much like the hotel plastic-wrapped plastic cups or the plastic-wrapped apples I've seen.  Is all of this even necessary?  And, is it all even recyclable?  Is this a good use for our depleting petroleum supply?  I think visuals like this really can make you sit and wonder about the whys, ponder about the pollution, and rethink what it is we are all doing.  Clearly, from Gregg Segal's photos, what we are doing is trashing the planet.

4_7_Days_Garbage_Chow Family 66189

Kudos to Mr. Segal for helping us look at things in a new way and puzzle about why we are doing this to ourselves!!  To view his whole collection, visit it at the 2014 Fence Website (& there, learn more about the 1,000 foot outdoor photo installation in Boston, the Brooklyn Bridge Park, & Atlanta through October 2014).

Photos from the Slate article "Mesmerizing Photos of People Lying in a Week's Worth of Their Trash" by Jordan G. Teicher.