Voting in the USA: An illustrated breakdown of the electorate

Did you know that it takes less than 1/4 of the US population to win the presidency?

That’s not typically how we think about it. You often hear pundits and fanatics claim “Half the country voted for…” But that’s not true at all. When you count up all the people in our country — 331 million of them — the winner of the US Presidential Election typically only receives a vote from less than 25 percent of the population.

Continue reading

The Resilient Redwood

An illustration from my book “The Handmade Teardrop Trailer” depicts a young Redwood forest in the coastal mountains of Carmel, Calif. by Matt Berger

Life lessons from the 2,000-year-old Sequoia sempervirens

The giant Redwood trees that grow along the forested California coast are known to survive as long as 2,000 years and grow to heights among the tallest trees in the world. “Majestic,” “towering,” and “mighty” are just a few common adjectives used to describe these trees by anyone who’s camped beneath them, and walked among them (or through them).

Continue reading

The Maker’s Virtuous Cycle

sketchnotes by Matt Berger

I’ve been in the hobby business for a long time and one thing I love about the #maker community is the virtuous cycle most people follow: Curious student —> enthusiastic practitioner—> devoted expert —> teacher.

And they are never afraid to start over to learn a new skill.

One thing I’ve always struggled with in the corporate world is that many people never make it to the teacher stage and hoard their expert knowledge. And they are too afraid to become students again.

The Deep Sea, and Why We Need to Save It

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is about an hour drive from my hometown, so it’s a family favorite destination on a weekends or holidays. This year we sprung for our first family membership after doing the math and realizing we’d save money.

The aquarium shared news this week about a special exhibit planned for 2021 on The Deep Sea, which will showcase life 200 meters or more beneath the ocean where light does not exist. How do you know you’ve reached the deep sea? Scientists explain: “You know it when you don’t see it.”

Continue reading

Jack London and the Misadventures of the California Eucalyptus

In the Fall of 1909, just north of San Francisco, a 33-year-old Jack London was at home on his Glen Ellen, Calif., ranch resting from a decade of traversing the globe in search of The Call of The Wild and other stories to tell.

London sat at his writing desk looking out on his rugged California ranch surrounded by golden hills, Live Oaks, and vineyards. A coastal wind blew East, carrying the scent of salt water from the Pacific Ocean filtered through the forest of Redwood trees and tangled Manzanita.

He typed a letter to his old writer friend — my great grandfather Grant Wallace — about a business deal they were working on:

Continue reading