Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Photo featured in LA Times



My photo of redwood seedlings has been featured on the Los Angeles Times’ website, alongside another holiday gift guide and mention of Save the Redwoods League.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Small picture in Alaska Airlines magazine





One of my pictures is featured in this month’s Alaska Airlines Magazine alongside a blurb about Save the Redwood League’s Plant a Redwood Seedling program. It was part of the magazine’s Holiday Gift Guide, in the section about cause-related gifts.

It’s just a tiny picture, but it’s one of my favorites, so I’m glad they chose it. And that they credited me ; )

I often take photos of events for SRL, where my wife works. Most of them are on Flickr, and a 2007 set from Mill Creek, Humboldt County, is where the seedling photo comes from.

Thanks to the SRL folks for letting me know about the magazine, and letting me borrow their copy.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Thursday Top 5





Redwoods: The Tallest Trees
Photographer Nick Nichols spent a year planning the nearly impossible: a top-to-bottom photograph of a 300-foot-tall redwood tree, featured in a five-page fold-out in the October issue of National Geographic Magazine. It’s on newsstands now. Buy it!



Amazing new design technology
Whoah, I need this app!



Bert and Ernie tries Gangsta-Rap
Is dey West Coast or East Coast?



I Will Derive!
For the math dorks.



Western Spaghetti by PES
Quirky animations by PES. [via Fwegan]


The weekly Thursday Top 5 lists the five most notable, interesting, funny, outrageous, cool, or simply strange things of the week. It is intended for distractionary purposes only. Do not take orally. If ingested, seek a doctor’s advice. If you like it, share it with others, or check out the long list of previous entries.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday Top 5



Public acceptance of evolution
A sobering and shameful look at our backward nation.



Who makes the paper grade?
In a new report card from ForestEthics and the Dogwood Alliance, FedEx Office and Office Depot get high marks for avoiding paper from endangered and controversial sources while Amazon.com, Costco, Target, and others get D and F grades. Download the report card here, or read an article about it from Greebiz.com.



Google Earth Tour of Sierra Pacific Industries’ clearcuts in California’s forests
Do you know where the town of Arnold, CA, is? Media coverage of logging in California died down a decade ago, and most people don’t realize the clearcuts have been going on ever since. “I wake up at night at 3:30, hearing the logging trucks and knowing what’s happening,” says Arnold resident Susan Robinson. “It makes me sick...I’m the daughter of a forester myself. I am not anti-logging. SPI [Sierra Pacific Industries] should be able to log its land. But it shouldn’t have the right to obliterate everything.” [from an article in the SFBG: “The Harshest Cut”]

Okay, those first three were a little depressing, so here are a couple more light-hearted selections:



NightLife at the Cal Academy of Sciences
“Every Thursday, the Academy is transformed into a lively venue filled with music, provocative science, mingling, and cocktails, for visitors 21 and older. Activities and performers change week to week.” Tonight (September 17) features my friend Laura Stec, among others. NightLife takes place every Thursday from 6 to 10pm; tickets are $12 ($10 for Academy members).



Hungry kitty [via Jason]


The weekly Thursday Top 5 lists the five most notable, interesting, funny, outrageous, cool, or simply strange things of the week. It is intended for distractionary purposes only. Do not take orally. If ingested, seek a doctor’s advice. If you like it, share it with others, or check out the long list of previous entries.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday Top 5



Joss Whedon on Humanism
The popular writer and director of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly” fame recently received the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism, previously awarded to people such as writer Salman Rushdie and Greg Graffin of the punk band Bad Religion. The above five-minute snippet comes from his speech which was broadcast on the Cambridge Forum, but sadly their web presence is ridiculously antiquated (they offer cassettes of their programs, so that should give you an idea). A good article on the event (with pictures) is available from the Harvard Humanist(s): Joss Whedon Slays Sold-Out Crowd.



What’s in your box of Kleenex?
Greenpeace offers a paper towel, napkin, tissue, and toilet paper buying guide that rates brands and gives data on post-consumer recycled content, overall recycled content, and whether chlorine is used to bleach the pulp. View it online, or download and print. They also have an iPhone app so you can look brands up while shopping.



Yuto Miyazawa plays “Crazy Train” on Ellen
Okay, so maybe his pronunciation of the English lyrics is not so impressive, but his guitar playing is pretty good for an nine-year old. Watch for the surprise ending. [5:59 min]



Jake and Amir
Okay, I admit it: I can’t help laughing at Jake and Amir. One of my favorite internet shows.



Little Red Riding Hood reinterpreted
In a very cool infographic style.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Who’s been naughty this year in the direct mail industry?

ForestEthics has released its annual Naughty/Nice List, their report on the direct mail industry and who’s been playing nice in the past year (phasing out their print catalogs, for example), and who’s been naughty (being secretive about the source of their paper, for example).

If you shop at or receive catalogs from any of these companies, you may want to download the 2-page PDF:
  • American Express
  • Bank of America
  • Bloomingdales
  • Capital One
  • Chase Bank
  • Citi
  • Crate & Barrel
  • Dell
  • Eddie Bauer
  • HSBC
  • JC Penney
  • L.L. Bean
  • Land’s End
  • Macy’s
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Patagonia
  • REI
  • Sears
  • Timberland
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Williams-Sonoma

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Does your pencil manufacturer get an A or an F?

Maybe you don’t even use pencils anymore. But millions of schoolchildren have been heading back to school this month, stocked with packs of brand new pencils.

Most pencils are made from unsustainably harvested wood. Worse yet, many are made from some of the most endangered forests in the West, the Sierra Nevada. But there are alternatives.

Download ForestEthics’ Back To School report card (PDF) and send it to anyone you know who uses pencils, or cares about our forests : )

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Urge Sierra Pacific to be a better corporate citizen



Sierra Pacific Industries plans to cut down a million acres of California's forests in the next 50 years. SPI is one of the biggest landowners in California and owns most of the forest lands in the Sierra. Our forests are not all parks, like most American believe.

SPI has one of the worst environmental records of California's logging companies due to its years of clearcutting practices and steadfast resistance to adopting to a more sustainable forestry model.

ForestEthics is applying pressure to Sierra Pacific and you can help.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Where have all the citations gone?

A few lifetimes ago I was a marketing and communications specialist for nonprofits, most notably for Bay Area Action and its later incarnation as Acterra.

For a few years I wrote and/or edited weekly email newsletters and action alerts. I started doing this for the Headwaters Forest Project at BAA, then created a weekly EcoCalendar of events all around the Bay Area, and later founded Acterra's first general email newsletter.

During that span of about eight years, I also performed a lot of other communications functions, especially surrounding the Headwaters issue. For a few years my website and email list were the best sources for news on the controversies emanating from the North Coast, and I fielded inquiries from small and big sources alike, everyone from elementary school students to the big media outlets such as Time and CNN.

I spoke at events (the Green Party's state convention comes to mind) and universities (I presented to a Stanford law class once, which was a bit unnerving, but then I reminded myself they were just students), I did radio interviews, I fielded calls and emails and faxes from reporters all over the world, and my email list contained addresses from places as far-flung as Japan and Australia and people from the press, government, and even Hollywood.

Copy this, please

This all happened in a time when the migration of such information to the Internet was much, much less frequent, and a lot harder to do. Nevertheless, lots of people copied my emails and forwarded them along to others. Which is what we wanted. Unlike commercial material, for which one might have copy-protection concerns, we wanted this information spread far and wide. Granted, we didn't want people to re-edit the information, so I simply attached a footer to my email template that stated that permission was thereby granted to forward the email in its entirety, for non-commercial purposes.

And people did it. In droves. They forwarded it on to their friends and family, co-workers, whomever. Some maintained their own large lists of concerned citizens interested in environmental issues, and they sent my emails along to them. Others posted my newsletters and action alerts on their AOL and Geocities homepages, on university listservs, and lots of other places.

Here are a few examples, still archived in various niches of the 'net:
Later, as search engines became more adept at crawling and indexing the content of the web (this had all occurred before Google existed), I'd be doing Headwaters research on AltaVista or Yahoo! or Dmoz, and come I'd across some of my old emails and articles scattered across the web.

Fading way

In more recent years I've noticed that Google's algorithm seems to be devaluing these old (nearly ancient in Internet time) posts, probably for fairly legitimate reasons (the HTML of those old web pages would not withstand semantic rigors of modern search technology), so they rarely show up in results, or if they do, they're buried many, many, many results pages deep. It's probably that a lot of those pages are simply gone now too, as people fold their old accounts or Geocities pages get closed down, or whatever.

When I first started noticing this, I must admit that it was a little sad, as it seemed almost as if my contributions were disappearing from the universe. I know this is not strictly true, but in a world where we seem to rely increasingly on Google to provide us with what we want to know (I'm certainly guilty of this reliance), it's disappointing that the content of those older articles is devalued in large part because the method used for archiving them did not use the modern HTML standards.

It's a little like devaluing the best encyclopedia in the (physical) library because its publishers have not yet made it available online. Perhaps the actual content contained in that encyclopedia is of better quality than anything published on the web, but most people would never know it because they'd never see it.

I'm conflicted about this on many levels. Partly because I believe passionately that people should have access to the best quality information (so I want people to go the library, or wherever they need to go for that single best source), but I also want that high-quality information to be much more widely accessible than that. Let's face it, the researcher in Prague seeking information on West Coast salmonids can't easily get the 700-page document off the dusty shelf of the tiny library of the Northcoast Environmental Center in California, can he? But what if it's the single best source, and it's not available online at all?

Technology will catch up

I believe (nearly) all of these documents will be available online someday. It may be a decade or more away, but it will happen.

And I will do my part. I have archived all my data from the Headwaters Forest years, and all my BAA articles and photos, and while they're not really in any usable order right now, I am confident that technology will continue to advance in ways that make the data easier to sort and publish. It's already been happening, with sites like Flickr making it easier to share photos, and tools like blogs and wikis making it easier to publish and collaborate.

Not all my contributions have faded away

Interestingly, search technology has more recently broadened to include the content of printed books too. Google Book Search began scanning the collections of several leading universities in 2004. While Google's tool is still in beta and it comprises mostly academic works, I was mildly surprised to see my name turn up with a few results. I was cited in Earth for Sale: Reclaiming Ecology in the Age of Corporate Greenwash, by Brian Tokar, and Writing for Real: A Handbook for Writers in Community Service , by Carolyn Ross, Joseph M. Williams, and Ardel Thomas. I'd forgotten that I was also thanked in Inciting Democracy: A Practical Proposal for Creating a Good Society, by my friend Randy Schutt.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Junk mailers pay less for postage than you do – a lot less

While individuals now pay 42¢ to mail a regular letter, direct mail marketers have once again been granted a much lower rate by the government bureaucrats who make up the rules. It costs just as little as 14¢ to mail one of those credit card offers you got twelve of yesterday.

ForestEthics.org believes junk mailers shouldn't be rewarded for invading our privacy and destroying the environment. Less than 10% of Canada’s Boreal Forest is protected. It is being logged at a rate of 2 acres a minute, 24 hours a day, to make things like catalogs and junk mail.

The Do Not Mail campaign has collected over 40,000 signatures since March. If you haven't made your voice heard yet, do it now.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tell politicians we need a Do Not Mail Registry

Unless you're a big fan of junk mail (I suppose there's someone out there like that) you may want to sign ForestEthics' petition to create a Do No Mail Registry that would work like the existing Do Not Call Registry.

An astonishing 100 billion pieces of junk mail are delivered in the U.S. each year, accounting for one-third of all the mail delivered in the world (!).

And guess whose forests are being cut down to make all that crap you just throw away?

Learn more...

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Arbokem's Downtown Paper

Two weekends ago I was at Compostmodern, a one-day conference put on by the AIGA about sustainability and the design industry. I chatted for a while with the reps for the great paper company New Leaf Paper, and I asked them if they'd ever heard of Arbokem paper, which I'd used back in 1997 and '98 for some clients and for Bay Area Action's letterhead.

Arbokem's little-known Downtown Paper line was one of the best alternatives on the market back in the late '90s, and that's saying a lot. That time was pretty much the beginning of recycled papers' popularity, but almost no companies processed chlorine free and very few paper lines were 100% post-consumer.

But Arbokem's Downtown line was even better. It was 45% wheat straw (agricultural waste that would ordinarily be burned and cause air pollution), 42% post-consumer recycled paper, and 12% calcium phosphate, which whitened the paper without the normal chlorine bleaching process that causes cancer-causing chemicals to be poured into our streams.

Tonight I was thinking about the paper again and I Googled Arbokem to see if it's still around. Sure enough, the company is, and apparently they do all sorts of other obscure R&D, but it looks like the paper is not produced anymore. Shame, it was a great alternative.

Incidentally, while Googling Arbokem I came across this 1997 article from the Palo Alto Weekly that I'd never seen, which mentions my use of Arbokem (look for "Western Front Graphics," my old company name, about two-thirds down).

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"The Story of Stuff"



"The Story of Stuff" is a 20-minute history lesson and an economics course all in one, but it won't put you to sleep like your professors did. It's a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns and was produced by Free Range Studios, the same folks who did "Store Wars" and "The Meatrix."

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Books about Headwaters Forest

I’ve been compiling this list for over a year and finally decided to post it. It’s an ongoing list, of course, and I’d love to hear of any other suggestions from people, or your thoughts on these books.

UPDATE MARCH 2010: Added the recently-published Tree Spiker to the list.

The Last Stand: The War Between Wall Street and Main Street over California’s Ancient Redwoods
by David Harris
published by: Sierra Club Books (paperback ed.), 1997; 384 pages
espd’s rating:
buy it

From the Redwood Forest: Ancient Trees and the Bottom Line: A Headwaters Journey
by Joan Dunning (author & illustrator) and Doug Thron (photographer)
published by: Chelsea Green, 1998; 272 pages
espd’s rating:
buy it

The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods
by Julia Butterfly Hill
published by: Harper San Francisco, 2001; 288 pages
espd’s rating:
buy it

A Good Forest for Dying: The Tragic Death of a Young Man on the Front Lines of the Environmental Wars
by Patrick Beach
published by: Doubleday, 2004; 288 pages
espd’s rating:
buy it

Timber Wars
by Judi Bari
published by: Common Courage Press, 1994; 343 pages
espd’s rating:
buy it

Who Bombed Judi Bari? (audio CD)
by Judi Bari
published by: Alternative Tentacles, 2000 (audio CD)
espd’s rating:
buy it

The Secret Wars of Judi Bari: A Car Bomb, the Fight for the Redwoods, and the End of Earth First
by Kate Coleman
published by: Encounter Books, 2005; 261 pages
espd’s rating: This is an error-riddled hit piece published by a right-wing publishing house. Don't bother unless you really want your collection to be all-inclusive.
buy it

Tree Spiker: From Earth First! to Lowbagging: My Struggles in Radical Environmental Action
by Mike Roselle with Josh Mahan
published by: St. Martin’s Press, 2009; 252 pages
espd’s rating: I haven’t read it yet. While this book doesn’t relate directly or entirely to Headwaters alone, Roselle was a co-founder of Earth First! and the memoir covers Headwaters-related territory such as Redwood Summer and the bombing of Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney.
buy it

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

boycott Kleenex



Greenpeace has started a campaign against Kimberly-Clark, the company behind such brands as Kleenex, Scott, Viva, Cottonelle, and more.

Kimberly-Clark uses 100% virgin fiber for its Kleenex products and even boasts about it on their website. Because it's better for "softness." But their oh-so soft products come from unsustainably managed forests, predominantly logged by clearcutting.

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