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Archives for October 22, 2017

PHOTOS: TMWA Hosts Smart Water Day at Lazy 5

Dale Carlon (1) Dale Carlon (2) Jeremy Smith John Enloe taking questions (1) John Enloe taking questions (2) John Enloe taking questions (3) TMWA (3 of 17) TMWA (4 of 17) TMWA (5 of 17) TMWA (6 of 17) TMWA (7 of 17) TMWA (8 of 17) TMWA (13 of 17) TMWA (14 of 17) TMWA (15 of 17) TMWA (16 of 17) TMWA (17 of 17)

Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) hosted Smart About Water Day at Lazy 5 Park Saturday to discuss a variety of water-related issues. Topics ranged from low-water landscaping to TWMA’s management of the Truckee Meadows water system.

TMWA’s Dale Carlon lead a tour around the park explaining do’s and don’ts of tree care. He explained that cottonwoods can draw huge amounts of water while trees like the Russian Olive draw significantly less and are easier to maintain. Carlon also explained how a drip system, when used correctly, can supply a variety of trees with different water needs all on one system. He offered advice on how to select the correct tree for your property in the first place and how to best handle trees that have become an issue or appear to be sick.

John Enloe takes questions during an educational session on TMWA’s Smart Water Day 2017.

Other discussions covered more broad topics about TMWA as a whole. John Enloe, director of natural resources planning and management for TMWA, talked on a variety of subjects including TMWA’s approach to the expected population growth in the area. He explained that forecasting the next 20 years helps TMWA both in its infrastructure needs as well as the demand for water in relation to TMWA’s water rights.

The 2015 drought was often used as an example of the worst-case scenario, but even in predictions where 2015 would be repeated over 20 years the diverse water system TMWA has would be able to function under even this drastic situation. This system includes the Truckee River, Donner and Independence lakes water reservoirs, and underground wells.

Smart Water Day was an opportunity for TMWA to present its ideas and inform the Reno community on how their water system works. With the drought of 2015 behind us, the need for constant messaging about water conservation is no longer at the forefront. TWMA used this opportunity to continue the discussion about the region’s water and is considering the idea of hosting these type of events throughout the Reno area.

If you would like to add to the discussion about water for the next 20 years for Reno please go to

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The art of note-taking: How this GeekWire Summit artist turns conversations into inspiring visual maps

Guillaume Wiatr sits next to the GeekWire Summit stage and creates murals visualizing ideas from the discussions. (Photos by Dan DeLong for GeekWire)

Note-taking can be a mundane and repetitive process that doesn’t always help inspire innovative new ideas. But that all changes when Guillaume Wiatr puts pen to paper.

Wiatr, CEO and founder of MetaHelm, has become a fixture at the GeekWire Summit. The 44-year-old positions himself just off the main stage at our annual tech conference with a large white canvas that he uses to sketch drawings inspired by the fireside chats and panel discussions.

Wiatr sketches notes for the fake news panel at the GeekWire Summit.

Wiatr joined us for the third-straight year last week at the 2017 GeekWire Summit in Seattle, where on-stage discussions ranged from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on developing breakthroughs in quantum computing, to Fred Hutch President Dr. Gary Gilliland on fighting cancer, to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson on battling Donald Trump.

The one constant throughout the two-day conference was Wiatr and his canvas.

“I visualize their talks and turn their ideas into images,” Wiatr said in an interview. “I create maps of conversations.”

Wiatr’s creative process is a combination of listening, identifying patterns, and ultimately turning words into the “maps of conversations.” The end result is visual web recounting key parts of a discussion that also ties together any overarching themes.

Wiatr’s notes from a fireside chat with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (left) and a Power Talk from University of Washington Professor Margaret O’Mara. (click to enlarge)
Wiatr’s notes from a fireside chat with Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson (left) and a Power Talk from Venture Kits CEO Leslie Feinzaig. (click to enlarge)
Wiatr’s notes from a Power Talk by Duke Professor Missy Cummings (left) and a fireside chat with Fred Hutch President Dr. Gary Gilliland. (click to enlarge)

While sketching, Wiatr said he’s doing something called “dual-coding,” a theory about how humans think in images.

“When you think about something, you don’t see a written word — you think of an image,” Wiatr explained. “We think in patterns, too. I’m actively using this. Everyone can do it, but it takes practice and technique to turn it into something larger.”

Wiatr’s notes from a talk by WSOS scholar Citlaly Ramirez (left); The VC View panel (center); and a fireside chat with Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, Amazon.
Wiatr’s notes from a Power Talk by neuroscientist Christof Koch, chief scientific officer at Seattle’s Allen Institute for Brain Science, and a fireside chat with Amazon exec Toni Reid, who leads the company’s Alexa and Echo Devices group.
Wiatr’s notes from a fireside chat with Instacart CEO and founder Apoorva Mehta (left) and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Originally from Normandy, France, Wiatr immigrated to Seattle nine years ago. He worked a variety of odd jobs — landscaping; tutoring kids; playing jazz piano — and started attending conferences, in part to learn from thought leaders and to also improve his English. That’s when Wiatr, a self-described “doodler” since childhood, began “sketchnoting” and saw the value in this form of artistic note-taking.

“I was tired of jotting down linear notes; I’d just forget about it,” he explained. “Now with [sketchnoting], I get really re-energized and inspired.”

Wiatr’s notes from the fake news panel.
Wiatr’s notes from the Inventions We Love presentations and a fireside chat with theBoardlist founder Sukhinder Singh Cassidy and Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff.
Wiatr’s notes from a Power Talk by Cirkled In CEO Reetu Gupta; C4 Database Management CEO Todd Stabelfeldt; and Stripe co-founder John Collison.

What started as a personal hobby soon turned into career for Wiatr, who was a senior visual strategist for Seattle-based company Point B before launching his own visualization strategy consulting firm, Metahelm.

Wiatr, who has a business background, works with companies to improve communication and collaboration during meetings. While he sketches silently at the GeekWire Summit, his work with Metahelm clients is much more a two-way process, with Wiatr embedding himself in meetings and asking questions to help him paint a better picture.

“When I help facilitate the conversation, that’s when the magic really happens,” he noted. “I get to candidly clarify thoughts or words.”

Photo via Erik Molano/ Photon Factory.

Metahelm clients range from Fortune 500 companies to startups.

“Startups pitch to me and I represent their pitch,” Wiatr said. “We can see the weak and strong points.”

Wiatr said his mission at Metahelm — which combines meta, the Greek prefix meaning beyond, and helm, equipment used to steer a ship — is to help reinvent the way leaders and teams work together. He said what he does is accessible to anybody and wants to see more folks get creative with their note-taking process.

“This is not artistry — I use squares and circles and triangles and lines,” Wiatr explained. “As our world becomes more complex, sometimes the solutions are the simplest ones. Pick up a pen and drive the conversation and help expand people’s minds with drawing.”

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Why One Plant May Be Fueling the Spread of Lyme Disease

Ever heard of a Japanese barberry plant? It’s a small shrub, common in home and commercial landscaping. Acres of it grow wild in tri-state woods. Deer avoid it. 

Ticks, however, do not. 

Japanese barberry shrubs are warmer and more humid than other plants, creating an environment where ticks can thrive and reproduce, increasing the risk of transmission of Lyme and other potentially dangerous infectious diseases, experts say. 

Ticks have to be infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme in order to transmit it. White-footed mice, which are common carriers of that bacteria, often hide in the barberry’s dense and thorny branches. One infected mouse passing through can transfer bacteria to any number of ticks, which then pass the infection to their next host. 

Dr. Scott Williams, the lead researcher on Japanese barberry for the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), told NBC Connecticut that the barberry is “the ecological perfect storm for tick-borne diseases.” His team’s research showed an acre of forest containing Japanese barberry averages a Lyme disease-carrying tick population 12 times higher than an acre with no barberry. 

Watch the animation below to learn more, and tune in for the News 4 I-Team’s special five-part series, “The Lyme Wars,” beginning Monday, Oct. 23.

Why Japanese Barberry Is a Haven for Ticks

Get the latest from NBC 4 New York anywhere, anytime

East Hampton’s Famed Grey Gardens Sells

Chances have just declined that later this year the premiere of “The Paper,” the Steven Spielberg film about Ben Bradlee, Katharine Graham, the Washington Post, and the Pentagon Papers, will be held at Grey Gardens in East Hampton. How do we know that? Well, the Post itself has reported that Mr. Bradlee’s widow, Sally Quinn, has sold the fabled estate that was previously owned by members of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis’s family. This news comes only days after it was learned that Lasata, the Bouvier estate also in East Hampton, has found a buyer.

The announcement in February that Grey Gardens was put on the market with an ask of a whisker under $20 million—it was lowered to $18 million in April—revived interest in the legendary property. The 1.7-acre estate is in pristine condition and has been maintained in that condition since the late Washington Post editor Mr. Bradlee and Ms. Quinn purchased it in 1979 and oversaw a complete restoration. According to the Post, a buyer has stepped forward and “the deal will close in the next few weeks.” The newspaper quoted Ms. Quinn as saying that she was “happy” with the contract and that the new owner “really understands the house” and plans to preserve it.

There sure is a lot to understand. Before Ms. Quinn and her husband bought it, Grey Gardens had been occupied by Edith Bouvier Beale and “Little Edie” Beale. The Beales were a prominent family in the 1920s and ’30s, and their estate, first constructed in 1897, was purchased in 1923 and was known for its exquisite landscaping. After her divorce from Phelan Beale, Edith fell on hard times. In the early 1950s, she persuaded her former debutant daughter to move in with her. As their fortunes continued to decline, their behavior became more careless and eccentric and the vermin-infested house deteriorated.

They may well have passed on in complete obscurity—except for the occasional raid by the health department—if not for the documentary filmmakers Albert and David Maysles. The brothers were approached by Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, and her sister, Lee Radziwill, about doing a documentary on their family, the Bouviers, who included their aunt and cousin in East Hampton. The brothers agreed. On and off for several months they shot footage and then came to a surprising realization: Edith and Edie Beale would make for a lot more interesting movie than Jackie and Lee. The mother and daughter lived a very private existence in Grey Gardens, which was literally falling down around them. Dozens of cats and other animals had easy access to the interior of the main house. The interior of their minds is where Big Edie and Little Edie spent much of their time, yet they allowed the Maysles brothers and their cameras into their home. For the next two months the filmmakers all but lived at Grey Gardens as they followed the two women in their daily and highly unusual routines.

When the film was released in 1976, audiences and critics were in turn fascinated and appalled by what they saw. The mother and daughter, 82 and 56 at the time of filming, formed a combination that was both bizarre and poignant. Showing them living in cat-overrun filth and Gothic decay yet in money-drenched East Hampton and being related by marriage to the Kennedys and a Greek shipping tycoon made for a jaw-dropping spectacle. The Maysles brothers were smart enough to let the story tell itself. Roger Ebert wrote that the film was “one of the most haunting documentaries in a long time.”

Two years after Big Edie died, in 1977, Little Edie sold Grey Gardens to Bradlee and Ms. Quinn for $220,000. She moved to Florida, where she passed away at 84 in 2002. Left behind were some possessions that Ms. Quinn has kept in storage. She told the Washington Post that she plans to conduct an estate sale where various items will be offered.

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