Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Pollution in Newborn Babies

This benchmark study could change the shape of the environmental health debate forever. They tested umbilical cord blood from 10 random newborn babies in the U.S. for industrial chemicals and pesticides, and found they were born with an average of over 200 contaminants. Scientists once thought the womb protected developing babies, but finding a disturbing array of toxic pollutants in their very lifeline raises serious questions about what we are doing to protect children's health.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Why nostalgia should not replace history

The Myth of Marriage shows how the nostalgia for traditional family values is misplaced, as it valorizes a past that didn't really ever exist. The nuclear family was only the norm for a very short period of history, for a very small sector of the population. That is why railing against gay marriage and feminism is just that much more ridiculous.

In fact,

We live in a very unfriendly environment for families. Married couples, if they're going to keep their marriages going, need things like parental leave, subsidized parental leave so it's not a class privilege to take some time with your kids. They need family-friendly work policies. They need high quality, affordable child-care. So that they don't have to call in sick or quit a job or spend hours agonizing about their kids. The lack of these social supports for families really stresses families. So it's very ironic that many of the people who claim to be most in favor of marriage do not spend any time building these support systems.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Photoshop Ralph Klein

Rick Mercer (most Canadian's know that name well) has a cool blog. Check out the Ralph Klein photoshopped pics - I love this stuff! More Photoshop Ralph, and even more!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Domestic Violence Not the Government's Problem?

The Violence Against Women Act was a giant step forward for women when first passed in 1994. It provided for real resources for helping victims in the US, but it also had a symbolic meaning. Its passage meant the acknowledgement of domestic and sexual violence, something which somehow has been often ignored.

The Act is set to expire in September, and apparently, hundreds of members of the US Government believe domestic violence is no longer a problem -- or at least not the government's problem.

In New York City, if you added up all the reported robberies, burglaries, and murders in 2003 and multiplied that number by two, it still would not equal the number of calls received by the City's domestic violence hotline.

Across the country, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day. One in every three women will be physically assaulted by a partner. Every year, 10 million children experience domestic violence in their homes.

The right wing calls the VAWA fascist, indentifying it with radical feminists and "their goal of destruction of the Western Civilization". Another great quote: "Feminist elites in conspiracy with America’s Neo-Marxists are seeking a gradual usurpation of power," which apparently they are doing through the VAWA. If you can stomach it, read a sickening article or two.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Stuff on My Cat

Do you like to put stuff on your cat while it sleeps? So do lots of other people, apparently!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A Chilling Postapocalyptic Vision

"Imagine you're a member of whatever species replaces Homo sapiens in 10,000 years. There's no more oil, at least not enough to build your economy around, and the planet's climate is still feeling the aftereffects of what your biological, bipedal predecessors did to it... No species on earth lasts forever, but we are hastening our own demise with such rapidity, that those who follow us will not know whether to curse us or thank us. "
This Commentary By Eric Patton and others is available to Sustainer Donors of ZNet.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

In a warmed world, even food won't be as good for you

In this very interesting article, the author discusses how elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, increase crop yield, but also decrease the nutritional value of plants. He says that "impoverished people in developing countries who feed on this bounty may end up malnourished, or even starving."

This isn't necessarily new though, because since the green-revolution's increase in productivity due to nitrogen and other chemical fertilizers, more and more food is deficient in nutrients. He says that at least a third of the world is already lacking some nutrients because of this micronutrient-deficient diet. This deficiency is called "hidden hunger" and according to the World Bank, "hidden hunger is one of the most important causes of slowed economic development in the Third World."

With the heavy use of chemical fertilizers and the rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere, this condition is likely to only get worse. Read the scientific studies at Grist.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Monkey Prostitution

An experiment at Yale University to teach monkeys how to use money has had unexpected side effects, including the first case of monkey prostitution.

Something else happened during that chaotic scene, something that convinced Chen of the monkeys' true grasp of money. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of money, after all, is its fungibility, the fact that it can be used to buy not just food but anything. During the chaos in the monkey cage, Chen saw something out of the corner of his eye that he would later try to play down but in his heart of hearts he knew to be true. What he witnessed was probably the first observed exchange of money for sex in the history of monkeykind. (Further proof that the monkeys truly understood money: the monkey who was paid for sex immediately traded the token in for a grape.)

Listen to Freakonomics author Steven Levitt talk about this experiment here.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Monbiot on the G8, the bombings in London and the Make Poverty History campaign

Transcript from Democracy Now:
... we were also very successfully articulating our dissent from the line taken by Bob Geldof and Bono and the other leaders of the G8 and of the Make Poverty History campaign, which has been quite extraordinary and exceptional in many ways. They have managed to mobilize billions of people around the world, and push the issues of Africa and poverty to the very top of the political agenda.

But those of us, the many thousands of us who met in Edinburgh and then at Gleneagles in order to protest against the G8 Summit drew a very sharp distinction between what we were doing and what we felt that Bono and Geldof were doing, which was protesting to ask the G8 Summit for favors, to beg, as we saw it, for a few more crumbs from the rich man's table. And in doing so, we felt that they were fetishizing the power of the G8 leaders. They were saying, you have the world in your hands, and you must now use this power to save that world from itself. Of course, what they weren't talking about was saving the world from themselves, from the G8 leaders and the disastrous policies they're pursuing in Africa and elsewhere.

And we were -- we felt and had expressed very strongly that the Live 8 and Make Poverty History campaigns in many ways were taking us back to an Edwardian era of tea and sympathy, that they were replacing our political campaigns with philanthropic campaigns. And they were handling the G8 leaders as if they were the potential saviors of the world, while completely ignoring and sidelining the harm that they were doing...

He highlights how the terrorist attacks in London have interrupted the potentially progressive movement to get the G8 leaders to confront the very real problems of the environment and global poverty. I wonder if these important issues will end up back on the agenda or if they will be sidelined as they were after 9/11.

Friday, July 08, 2005

My Meyers-Briggs Personality Type

INTP - "Architect". Greatest precision in thought and language. Can readily discern contradictions and inconsistencies. The world exists primarily to be understood. 3.3% of total population. According to
Main type

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Burn, Canada And Spain, Burn!

Burn, Canada And Spain, Burn!
Look to the skies, see the wrath of God rain down on married gays! Will hockey and tapas survive?

It will be fun to watch their societies crumble, their moral fiber rend and shred, their sense of justice and humanity wither and die in the white-hot sun of sin and impudence and blasphemy, Canada's no-longer-manly hockey teams spontaneously combust into a billion meaty bloody God-splattered bits, Spanish children drop their jambón sandwiches in terror and scream and shriek and turn into instant puddles of fiery confused goo.

Why all the vicious carnage? Why the reign of terror? Simple, silly: Canada and Spain have done the unthinkable, the unconscionable. They have legalized gay marriage, everywhere, in their respective countries. Oh my God, they are so going to burn.

Read the Rest